Just days after issuing an unprecedented recall, Samsung Canada has announced that 70 percent of the 22,000 Note 7s sold in Canada have been tagged for replacement.
After some initial confusion related to how the Note 7’s recall will work in different regions, Samsung has now clarified how Canadian consumers can confirm their Note 7 features a safe battery unit. The company plans to release a free software update on September 21st across all Canadian carriers that will replace the standard white battery indicator on safe Note 7s, including the one seen on the smartphone’s always-on display, to a bright green.
If a consumer is still using a Note 7 purchased between August 19th and September 1st 2016 — devices equipped with the old battery have the potential to overheat, and in some cases cause fires — a software update will cause a notification to pop up every three hours, reminding the user to exchange their smartphone.
“That green battery tells you that you have a new device. In the event that you have a device that hasn’t been replaced, the software will detect what battery is in there and prompt you to register for the exchange program,” said Paul Brannen, COO and executive vice-president of mobile enterprise solutions at Samsung Canada, during a recent interview with MobileSyrup.
With all Canadian carriers, this update is forced and uses will not be able to skip the prompt. Also, according to Samsung Canada, this update won’t count towards a someone’s monthly data cap because of an agreement Samsung has reached with all Canadian carriers.
In the case of Note 7s that do not feature a new battery, the update features a message that advises owners to immediately power down their device and register for Samsung’s Canadian Product Exchange Program.
“We have worked with the carriers so there is no charge to Canadian consumers. If you [download the update] over data, there will be no charge,” said Brannen.
Bennan also noted that Samsung has additional steps in mind to increase the 70 percent return rate by a considerable margin should the need arise, though he emphasizes that the company wants to avoid taking this particular action if possible.
For example, the company says it has the ability to brick phones that are still utilizing the older version of the battery. In contrast to how the company is handling the recall in South Korean — with an update that limits the Note 7’s battery life to 60 percent — Brennan says that Samsung has adopted a different approach with its Canadian recall.
“We worked very closely with HQ and we determined that’s the wrong message to send. The message that we want to send to consumers is: ‘I want you to exchange your devices,'” said Brennan. “Allowing you to only charge a device to 60 percent is not going to drive a great consumer experience. When you think of the pain point for most consumers it’s battery life and if I’m going to give you a phone that only charges to 60 percent, you won’t be happy.”
In the meantime, along with the green battery indicator, Samsung says that all replacement devices will have a black square on their packaging to further help consumers identify they have a safe unit.
Brennan says that despite the initial backlash regarding the Note 7s recall, he feels his company has handled the situation as swiftly as possible given the circumstances.
“When I go out and I read comments on Facebook or Twitter regarding this, clearly we took some early comments from people that aren’t the most positive comments. But clearly most recently, what’s most fulfilling is all the people positively applauding what we’ve done and the ones that have actually gone back out and said, ‘thanks for delivering our device, I didn’t expect to get it so soon,'” he said.
The battery indicator software update measures in at approximately 40MB. For more information about the Note 7’s recall, check out our ‘here’s how to tell if you have a safe Note 7 in Canada,’ guide.