Following its move to recall the Galaxy Note 7 two months ago, Samsung on Friday announced that a forthcoming software update will make all remaining Note 7s in the United States completely useless.
According to a company statement, the update will be initiated December 19 and roll out over a 30 day period. Over that time, the new software will ensure phones are unable to charge. This will signal the death of what’s been a horrid stretch for Samsung since the phone was unveiled in August.
Because Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was basically an incendiary device -- it’s lithium ion batteries were prone to exploding -- the company initiated an exchange program in October, offering customers up to $100 in credit if they returned their device for a new Samsung phone.
It makes sense the Korean giant wants to scrub its Note 7 nightmare from memory, given that the feds banned the Note 7 on domestic airline flights in October, and the phone was liable to combust basically anywhere -- including in people’s pockets. Still, some have expressed a deep love of the phone, and a desire to hold onto it even in the face of inherent danger. One tech writer went so far to penn an essay declaring how he'd deal with the consequences of Note 7 ownership, because the phone is safer than a car.
In Europe, Samsung is taking a different approach to the update, The Verge reports. Note 7 users in the EU will see their phone battery cap off at 30%, in a similar move to what the company did to American subscribers in October, when it rolled out an update that capped battery life at 60% across the US.
But it doesn’t appear to be all cut and dry for Samsung. The country’s biggest cellular provider, Verizon, announced that it would not participate in the Note 7 update. Somewhat ironically, Verizon cites customer safety as its main reason for not complying with Samsung’s directive, saying in a statement:
“We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note 7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”
In light of the update, Samsung is talking up its exchange program, which is still ongoing. But if you have a Note 7, it might be a worthwhile time to consider transitioning to a different brand -- although there's plenty of other exploding phones out there. (Sigh.)