South Korean tech giant Samsung has announced an unprecedented global recall of the latest version of its flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note7, after several handsets were found to have caught fire while charging, due to a battery fault.
The company also promised to replace 2.5 million units of the 5.7-inch handsets sold so far, both in and outside the country, regardless of purchase date.
Speaking at a press conference held in Seoul on Friday (Sept 2), Mr Koh Dong Jin, head of Samsung's handset business division, apologised for causing inconvenience to customers and revealed that initial investigations have traced the problem to faulty battery cells.
Only 24 out of every one million handsets were affected by the battery problem, he said. The company received 35 reports of battery issues worldwide.
"Investigations are still ongoing, but we have decided to stop selling the phone and offer replacements as customer safety is our top priority," he said.
Customers can get their phones replaced at service centres within two weeks - the time needed for the company to prepare a new batch of products. The company will also work with their telco partners worldwide to replace the phone "as soon as possible", said Mr Koh.
The Galaxy Note7 was launched on Aug 19 in 10 countries, including United States and South Korea. It went on sale in Singapore on Aug 20.
Pre-order results had exceeded initial estimates and the company had to boost production to cope with the demand. Industry experts had predicted it could sell as many as 15 million units this year.
About 400,000 units of the phone have shifted in South Korea within two weeks, according to local news reports.
The company stopped deliveries of the phone early this week after news reports emerged that several handsets exploded while charging.