BEIJING (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, said Thursday more than 1 million people worldwide are now using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones with batteries that are not vulnerable to overheating and catching fire.
Earlier this month, Samsung issued a voluntary global recall of at least 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones due to faulty batteries causing some of the flagship devices to catch fire, a deeply embarrassing crisis for a firm that prides itself for its quality control.
The South Korean firm said Note 7 phones that were sold starting on the official Sept. 1 launch date use a different battery than the recalled devices.
But a string of reports by users in China stating their Note 7s caught fire have dogged Samsung in a country where they have already fallen out of the top five in terms of market share.
In a statement issued on its Chinese website, the company apologized to consumers for failing to providing a detailed explanation why the smartphones on sale in China were safe, clarifying that they used batteries that came from a different supplier.
“Currently, the brand new Note 7 products that have been swapped in overseas markets are using identical batteries to those that were supplied and used for the Chinese version,” Samsung said.
Samsung said it takes reports of Note 7 fires in China very seriously and has conducted inspections on such devices. Batteries for the burnt phones were not at fault, Samsung said, adding its conclusion was also backed up by independent third-party testing.
However, the company is also looking into reports that some of its replacement phones are overheating.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there have been several reported cases of replacement phones becoming too hot to touch in the U.S. and South Korea.
“There have been a few reports about the battery charging levels and we would like to reassure everyone that the issue does not pose a safety concern,” the company said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “In normal conditions, all smartphones may experience temperature fluctuations.”
– With files from Global News