Yesterday I took a Southwest flight from Burbank to Oakland to attend a memorial celebration for one of my oldest friends, Sandy Pearlman. When I got on the routine 55 minute flight, the attendant made a bunch of standard announcements about how you how to do this with big electronic devises and that with small electronic devises. I wasn't paying close attention because I've heard these announcements a thousand times and since they're evolving in nature and now difefrent on every airline, I just do more or less what I want anyway. But then something very off happened that got my attention.
I'm an Apple guy and have been for decades. One of my closest friends is a top executive there and I worked for them as a consultant for a short time. I never use anything from other companies if what I want is available from Apple. I have an iPhone. I don't know I've ever even seen a Samsung. But suddenly, after the general announcements about teh big devices and the small devises, the attendant announced that under no circumstances was anyone to plug in or switch on a Samsung Galaxy Note 7. She sounded dire and I was half expecting her to say anyone with one of these things would have to deplane or that they would send a basket around that you could deposit it in so it could be dsiposed of before the plane could take off. But she didn't say that.
This morning I checked at BGR to see what the fuss was all about. Zach Epstein, a former Samsung Galaxy enthusiast Note 7 enthusiast, had a provocative headline: Under No Circumstances Should You Buy A Galaxy Note 7 Under No Circumstances Should You Buy A Galaxy Note 7. He was one of many who had bought into the hype that the Galaxy Note 7 was Samsung's best ever smartphone when it was released a little over a month ago; game-changing even. “Within the confines of current technological limitations, the Note 7 was as close to perfect as a phablet could get,” he wrote. It didn't turn out that way.
For Samsung and for its customers, the Galaxy Note 7 has been an absolute nightmare. In terms of design, features and performance, it was instantly obvious that the Note 7 was Samsung’s most impressive phone ever, and it flew off the shelves following its release. The phone’s success in those early days would end up being bittersweet, because each phone sold would end up being another handset that needed to be recalled.
Yes, as we all now know, an unknown number of Note 7 handsets were equipped with faulty batteries that could explode and catch fire. The true magnitude of this safety threat was realized when exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones caused personal injuries and car fires. One exploding Note 7 even ended up burning down its owner’s house.
But the worst was yet to come.
Samsung had no choice but to issue a global recall of all 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 handsets that had been shipped to retailers. The exact number of recall-eligible phones sold to end users around the world is not known, but Samsung said about 1 million handsets were sold in the US and South Korea alone. The company did a reasonably good job educating users and within a few weeks of the official start of its recall program, Samsung had exchanged or refunded more than half of all Note 7 purchases.
Then, the unthinkable happened: a “safe” Galaxy Note 7 that had been issued to a customer as a replacement phone exploded and caught fire. On an airplane.
Reminder: during the vice presidential debate Tuesday evening, when Mike Pence lamely tried to deny Trump had advocated Japan and South Korea developing their own nuclear arsenals, he was flat out lying. That's exactly what Trump had advocated– as a money saving strategy for the U.S.– and he had said he was open to other countries developing nuclear arsenals as well. I wonder if Herr Trumpf still only uses Samsung devises and if he takes his Galaxy Note 7 on Herr Force One.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis