Samsung looking into reports of overheating Note 7 replacements

SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung has another problem with overheating batteries catching fire in its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone: Some of the replacement units may be doing the same.

Consumers in the U.S., South Korea and China who picked up the replacement device this month have said it is too hot, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

“We would like to reassure everyone that new Note 7 phones are operating properly and pose no safety concerns. In normal conditions, all smartphones may experience temperature fluctuations,” Samsung said in a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday.

The South Korean electronics giant, which recalled 2.5 million Note 7 devices in 10 countries on Sept. 2, says it is addressing the replacement issue with individuals via customer service. It has yet to disclose when the Note 7 will go back on sale again.

Samsung says more than 60% of the devices purchased in the U.S. and South Korea have been exchanged; of those, 90% of consumers opted for a new Note 7 rather than a refund or another Samsung model.

The company confirmed a report in Reuters that about 1 million people have replacement Note 7s.

While the fluid nature of the recall has taken a toll on Samsung's reputation, it is not unique in an industry burned by battery problems. Dell and Hewlett Packard are among several companies forced to recall products because of overheating.

"It looks bad for them, but we have to put this in perspective," says Jack Gold, an independent tech analyst. "Lithium-ion batteries (in the Note 7 and other smartphone brands) have always been an issue. When you try to fast-charge a phone, it is going to get very hot."

Follow USA TODAY San Francisco Bureau Chief Jon Swartz @jswartz on Twitter.


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