Samsung Is Going to Brick Unreturned Galaxy Note 7 Devices Remotely with a Software Update

Samsung Is Going to Brick Unreturned Galaxy Note 7 Devices Remotely with a Software Update
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Samsung is going to brick Galaxy Note 7 devices that have yet to be returned with an over-the-air update, the company announced Friday.

The Korean-based smartphone manufacturer claims that “more than 93 percent” of recalled devices have been returned to the company. To deal with the remaining phones, the company said it will release a software update on Dec. 19 that will permanently disable the Note 7’s ability to charge its battery and render them effectively useless. The company cites “consumer safety” as their highest priority and the primary reason behind the upcoming device-killing software update.

“To further increase participation [in the recall], a software update will be released on December 19th that will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note 7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices,” Samsung wrote in a press release.

Not everybody is on board with the decision, however. Today, Verizon announced in a follow-up statement that it will not push Samsung’s update to its customers — citing the fact that the update could pose an “added risk” to consumers in the case of an emergency during the busy holiday traveling season.

“Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users that do not have another device to switch to,” Verizon wrote in the press release. “We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”

Similarly, Sprint also announced that it will wait until Jan. 8 to rollout the bricking Note 7 update, and AT&T will release it on Jan. 5. T-Mobile announced it will drop the update on Dec. 27. Samsung said that rolling out the software update will take up to 30 days, so it seems at least two of the major carriers are holding out until that timeline is up, while Verizon is just outright refusing to release it, according to The Verge.

The Galaxy Note 7 was officially recalled in September after a string of reports of explosions and fires due to the smartphone’s faulty batteries. In October, the company officially killed off the device by halting production and sales worldwide. Notably, the Galaxy Note 7 is still banned on airlines and by the FAA, and on many public transit systems across the U.S.

The recall is still in effect, and Samsung is reportedly expanding it due to increased cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Galaxy Note 7 owners who still have the device are eligible for a replacement or full refund.

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