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Samsung recalls Galaxy Note 7 smartphones due to exploding batteries

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SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of – Samsung Electronics recalled all of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on Friday after finding batteries of some of the flagship gadgets exploded or caught fire.

Samsung’s Note 7s are being pulled from shelves in 10 countries, including South Korea and the United States, just two weeks after the product’s launch. Customers who already bought Note 7s will be able to swap them for new smartphones in about two weeks.

Global News has contacted Samsung to confirm whether Canadian customers are affected by the recall. The company has yet to release full details.

READ MORE: Why do lithium-ion smartphone batteries keep exploding?

In a statement issued Friday, president of Samsung’s mobile business Koh Dong-jin apologized for causing inconvenience and concern to customers.

There have been 35 confirmed instances of Note 7s catching fire or exploding, but no reports of injuries related to the problem.

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The company said it has not found a way to tell exactly which phones may endanger users out of the 2.5 million Note 7s already sold globally. It estimated that about 24 out of 1 million units may have a faulty battery.

After complaints surfaced online, Samsung found that a battery cell made by one of its two battery suppliers caused the phone to catch fire. Koh refused to name the supplier.

READ MORE: Customer alleges Samsung tried to silence him after battery explosion complaint

“There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process, so it was very difficult to figure out,” Koh told reporters at a news conference. “It will cost us so much it makes my heart ache. Nevertheless, the reason we made this decision is because what is most important is customer safety.”

Customers’ reports of scorched phones prompted Samsung to conduct extra quality controlling tests and delay shipments of the Note 7s this week before the recall.

South Korean high school teacher Park Soo-Jung said she had rushed to buy the new phone, pre-ordering and then activating it on Aug. 19, its official launch date.

The 34-year-old living in the port city of Busan said that she was bruised when she rushed out of bed after her phone burst into flames, filling her bedroom with smoke stinking of chemicals.

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READ MORE: Samsung beats earnings estimates thanks to high Galaxy S7 sales

She’s having second thoughts about buying another newly released device, especially after losing all her personal data stored in the destroyed Note 7, she said.

“If the exploded phone had burned near my head, I would not have been able to write this post,” she said in a popular online forum Thursday, where she shared a photo of the scorched Note 7 and described dousing the flames.

This isn’t the first time Samsung has had problems with exploding smartphone batteries.

In February 2013, South Korean fire officials said a man suffered second-degree burns after the lithium-ion battery from a 2011 Galaxy Note phone caught fire in his pants pocket.

Later that summer Chinese news outlets alleged that a Samsung Galaxy S4 was responsible for a house fire after a man’s phone burst into flames while he was using it.

In December 2013, Vancouver-area resident Richard Wygand told Global News he woke up in the middle of the night to find his Samsung Galaxy S4 – which was plugged into its charger – smoking and producing sparks.

The recall comes at a crucial moment in Samsung’s mobile business. Apple is scheduled to announce its new iPhone next week and Samsung’s mobile division was counting on momentum from the Note 7’s strong reviews and higher-than-expected demand.

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