Samsung tells 'PenGate' complainers to read the manual first

Samsung acknowledged that its new Galaxy Note 5 could break if the stylus was inserted backwards into the storage slot, and responded to online criticism by advising users to read the manual.
Samsung acknowledged that its new Galaxy Note 5 could break if the stylus was inserted backwards into the storage slot, and responded to online criticism by advising users to read the manual.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (BLOOMBERG) - Apple Inc. had AntennaGate and BendGate, and now Samsung Electronics Co. is facing PenGate.

The South Korean company responded to criticism on social media on Wednesday about its new Galaxy Note 5, acknowledging that the device can break if the stylus is inserted backward into the storage slot. Its advice to customers: Read the manual.

The S Pen has a uniform width, making it fit in the slot upside down, and that can cause problems with the smartphone, Samsung said in a statement. The large-screen Note series comes with a stylus that helps users take notes or draw pictures more precisely than with their fingertips. Previous pens wouldn't fit when inserted incorrectly.

"If you insert the pen in the opposite direction into the Note 5 slot and put force to get it out, it could damage the S pen and the device resulting in malfunctioning," Samsung said in an e-mail."That doesn't mean that it's a defective product."

Some users complained about the issue on Twitter under the hashtag #PenGate. Samsung said the Note 5 manual already warns of potential misuse of the stylus, and users can get their devices repaired at a local service center.

The issue is reminiscent of some of Apple's previous missteps with the iPhones. In 2010, Steve Jobs said some people were holding the iPhone 4 wrong, and that was impeding reception. Apple subsequently gave away plastic cases to fix what Mr Jobs called "AntennaGate."

Last year, some users complained that their iPhone 6 Plus bent when they sat on it. Apple responded by saying the bending was "extremely rare".

Samsung is counting on the Note 5 and the curved-screen Galaxy S6 Edge Plus to help its products stand out from Apple and hundreds of vendors selling smartphones using Google Inc.'s Android software.

The Suwon, South Korea-based company released the devices this month to get ahead of the next iteration of iPhones. They debuted after lackluster sales of the premium Galaxy S6 prompted the company to cut prices.

Samsung fell 1.1 per cent on Wednesday to 1,067,000 won in Seoul, widening its decline for the year to 20 per cent.