Well, no one quite expected this is how things would turn out. Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be the next big thing in the mobile scene, becoming the standard by which future phones were to be measured. Needless to say, things haven't turned out that way, and in fact, things have likely gone the exact opposite way that Samsung would have liked.
Simply put, it has been a nightmarish past week for Samsung and the Galaxy Note 7 — exploding batteries, recalls, government advisories and tumbling market values. This is not the week that Samsung, or anyone for that matter, had envisioned prior to the phone's launch.
Everything started earlier this month when reports of the Galaxy Note 7's batteries catching fire and exploding began to surface online. While initially not commonplace, these reports soon started to become more frequent and it became glaringly obvious that there was a critical flaw with the smartphone.
Naturally, Samsung took it upon itself to announce a voluntary recall of the device, offering owners the chance to exchange their phones now via a swap program — the Product Exchange Program — it put in place last week. That program lets owners exchange their phones for a non-combustible Note 7, and in some cases have a loaner phone for the weeks until a new Note 7 can be issued.
However, there's been a lingering problem with this exchange problem: Samsung has yet to clearly tell owners the necessary steps to have their device replaced, and in some instances people hadn't even heard of the recall. The result? A jeep was entirely engulfed in flames.
Now, things have become so bad that both the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission both recently decided to weigh in about the situation. The former issued a statement Thursday, Sept. 8, advising Note 7 owners to not bring their phones onboard planes; and the CPSC issued a statement Friday, advising owners to neither use nor charge their device while it works with Samsung to announce a formal recall.
Unfortunately for Samsung, while the recall might restore public trust somewhat, it's unlikely to restore investor trust. Following the FAA's announcement, which effectively classified the Note 7 as a potential fire hazard, investors on Friday wiped more than $10 billion off Samsung's market value, causing Samsung shares to close at $1,432, down 3.9 percent.
To Samsung's credit, however, things could have gone far worse. Yes, the week has been a bad one, but no one has been seriously hurt or died. And, luckily, now that government agencies are working with Samsung to issue a formal recall, it looks like the worst is behind them.
Now all that remains to be seen is just how this will impact Samsung's phones later down the line. Sure, other electronics companies have faced similar issues in the past, but how many of them caused entire vehicles, hotel rooms or garages to go up in flames? Its unlikely consumers will forget this when the next Note comes around.