Saturday , August 19 2017

Opinion: Samsung needs to send out an OTA software update to disable Note 7, before someone dies

galaxy-note-7-blows-up-jeep

The image above is reportedly a Jeep Grand Cherokee that was acting as a charger for a defective Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Luckily no one was injured in the blaze, and it has not been confirmed that the Note 7 started the fire, however, the phone in question was apparently being charged.

The owner, a man from Florida, claimed he was not aware of the recall or the danger of charging the device. The specifics of this case will eventually be determined, but this isn’t the first near-miss involving a Note 7. An Australian man had his device burst into flames whilst staying in a Perth Hotel, damaging the hotel room, as well as the device obviously.

The Galaxy Note 7 that started a small hotel fire
The Galaxy Note 7 that started a small hotel fire

We have commented that Samsung has done a good job of “getting in front” of the battery issue, admitting there is a problem, enacting, in Australia at least, an official recall and offering several options for customers to get a new device or their money back. However, the Florida incident, if true, shows what happens when not every Note 7 owner on the planet knows there is an issue.

Enter a potential solution. Perhaps Samsung should send out an OTA software update that will disable every affected device. If this can be done, which we believe it can be, this would reduce the number of faulty active units in the market. Sure even this measure won’t get 100% of devices but it is just one more way Samsung can try and ensure that no serious incidents occur. So far all we’ve had is a few near misses, no significant injury, I truly hope it stays that way.

If you know anyone who has a Galaxy Note 7 now is the time that they STOP using the device. The warnings from Samsung, and the evidence of incidents is clear enough the it’s time to admit that no phone, even one as great as the Note 7, is worth the risk.

 
Source: Android Authority.

Duncan Jaffrey   Journalist

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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31 Comments on "Opinion: Samsung needs to send out an OTA software update to disable Note 7, before someone dies"

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Member
I think the key thing is that maybe not everyone has a suitable replacement or the prospect of having to “back-up” and change phones ( potentially to one they have to buy to tide them over ) without losing any stuff they had on it may be either too daunting / too time consuming or a bit of both. This means that even with notice and all that, there will be plenty of people that don’t do what they need to to go and hand their phone in. As such, having the phone suddenly disabled is a MASSIVE call…. Sudden… Read more »
Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

Looks like it’s going official. Word coming from various overseas locations is, that Samsung are advising Note 7 owners that they will be remotely de-activating Note 7’s that aren’t handed in by 30th September. Will need to keep an eye on the Sammy Oz updates.

Member

Just send an OTA update that limits the phone to 5V/0.5A charge input. Should stop the battery from overheating.?
I think Chris’ comment is the most sensible.

Bob Smith
Valued Guest
Bob Smith

Buy junk get burned.

ReyJohnson
Valued Guest
ReyJohnson

There is a higher casualty rate for automobile components that are allowed to exist without a recall. We aren’t rushing to disable vehicles. I think the article’s author here is quite a bit extreme. I am no actuary, but I wouldn’t want some corporate entity to decide what I can and can’t use inside my own home and else where.

Chris
Valued Guest

It raises an interesting question … to what extent could Samsung lawfully do /anything/ to a phone bought by a customer? Could they legally disable/hobble a phone in the manner we’ve suggested?

Unless there were some mandatory recall, I’d have to suspect the answer is “no”.

kenyaone
Valued Guest
kenyaone

Holy smokes. I’m buying one as soon as the battery replaced units hit the stores.

aaricku
Valued Guest
aaricku

This guy probably just wanted a new car..

Member
Matt

Good idea.

Gray Fox
Valued Guest
Gray Fox

So was the note 7 really responsible for the fire or was it the car being a jeep

Chris
Valued Guest

I first thought the same thing… knowing that Jeeps kind of have a bit of form for randomly catching fire.

Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

The jury is still out on that, those points. Or was it an opportunist at work.

Chris
Valued Guest
I published this because I think Duncan made a good point. In reading the comments, and discussing this on social media, I’ve come to the view that there is merit to this OTA disabling approach, but perhaps it should be a staged thing. First, a persistent notification that advises users to contact Samsung and/or their place of purchase and make arrangements for a return/refund/exchange/whatever. That should be displayed constantly, with a link to Samsung’s information page. After two weeks, that notification should change its tune, and warn users that in a certain timeframe (e.g. 30 days, 45 days, 60 days)… Read more »
Peter Hill
Valued Guest
Peter Hill

I’ve kept mine for the time being while I search for a suitable replacement (J1 Mini is not a suitable replacement). I have been very cautious charging the device totally avoiding my car. I’d hate to think that I would “squeal like a stuck pig” if something untoward happened.

Mark
Valued Guest
Mark

I think Samsung have done allot to bring the issue to everyone’s attention! I had at least 3 notifications that the Note 7 is faulty and should be powered down and returned! I think I got an SMS from Samsung and Telstra (my carrier) and a push notification as well telling me in no uncertain terms to backup, power down and return the phone!

Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

Exactly, BUT unfortunately some people choose the old “She’ll be right” attitude, “could never happen to me”, then they would the loudest screaming …..

Chris
Valued Guest

Absolutely right. I initially was in that camp, but then came to believe it just wasn’t worth the risk, and the Note7 went back into its box, and back to whence it came. Last thing I need is my nightstand to catch fire and kill us all. No phone is worth that.

lovard
Valued Guest
lovard
Disabling the device is a terrible idea as is limiting the functionality, people expect their devices to work in emergencies and remotely disabling functions can have untold consequences. What Samsung should have done from the beginning is sent an OTA notification to every device advising of the problem and possibly restricting the charge parameters. Disabling fast charge and limiting the charge to 60% is likely to minimise the risk of cell failure. Cells tend to fail when the cell voltage and/or temperature is high due to the polymer layer breaking down, resulting in thermal runaway. I think Ausdroid has been… Read more »
Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

That’s why they are offering free loan phones to tide people over.

Andrew
Valued Guest
Andrew
No, it’s far too risky to just disable phones. You can’t just disable people’s phones who haven’t done anything illegal. What if someone is in an emergency and needs to call police/ambulance/fire? Too bad your phone is locked out. What happens if someone tries to contact their family member who has a Note 7 and can’t get through for hours? Then they’ll go to the police and file a missing persons report. It would cause far more chaos to a whole lot more people. Their best bet would be to send emails/sms/everything they can to notifiy every Note 7 owner… Read more »
Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

That’s why they are offering everyone loan phones before the new handsets arrive.

Member
Darren

Dear police, my son didn’t answer the phone today, I think he’s missing.

Andrew
Valued Guest
Andrew

If it’s been hours or days with with no contact, sure, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to file a missing persons report.

What’s stupid would be to just insta disable millions of phones.

Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

Whilst that sounds a great idea, and it’s something that has been kicked around since day one of this problem on another forum, I think their could be huge legal ramifications that vary from area to area.

You then have the usual carrier non carrier device problem, and of course possible legal ramifications and come-backs at carriers world wide.

Sure Samsung/Google could organise for the appropriate blocking update but it would need to be sanctioned by so many local government control bodies, I’m sure it would be unworkable unfortunately.

MrJayTee74
Valued Guest
MrJayTee74

Umm…No, you can’t OTA brick someone’s device, that is ludicrous. What if you had just taken snaps of your first born child and not backed them up or something equally monumental. FFS, this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Also…after that everybody would panic about any type of OTA for fear of bricking

Huge Jackman
Valued Guest
Huge Jackman

If someone hasn’t initiated a cloud backup of their pics from the get-go then that’s their own problem.

Anyway, you can’t look at photos if you’ve been blinded by an exploding Samsung Note 7 so there’s that too.

MrJayTee74
Valued Guest
MrJayTee74

Lol and true that. Photo backup’s should be opt out, not opt in.

Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

You could brick the radio/wireless portion of the device so that it became unserviceable as a phone/internet device, which is the main use of them, and therefore data onboard, photos or whatever were still available. You’d then cease use of it, and if you weren’t aware of the overall problem seek assistance to have it repaired and then get clued up about the bigger problem.

Member
Dean Rosolen

Doing that would kill any cloud backup functionality so that isn’t really an option either.

Newcastle Guardian
Valued Guest
Newcastle Guardian

Ah, I access my cloud storages from several different devices. Access to your account and files would be available with your replacement new Note.

Fire Marshall Bill
Valued Guest
Fire Marshall Bill

I’m going to order one of the new Samsung fire resistant asbestos phone wallets!

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