Samsung will render remaining Galaxy Note 7s in the United States useless and inoperable with its next and final update for the recalled smartphone. Today the company confirmed that it plans to release an update on December 19th — to be distributed across all major carriers within 30 days — that will “prevent US Galaxy Note 7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices.”
This final shutdown of the phone appears to be Samsung's last effort to get all Note 7s back in its possession. Samsung says that 93 percent of US-sold Note 7 units have now been returned, which puts about 133,000 phones unaccounted for. And with this next update meant to basically kill the device for good, Samsung will ramp up communication with customers still holding onto them for some reason:
Together with our carrier partners, we will be notifying consumers through multiple touchpoints to encourage any remaining Galaxy Note7 owners to participate in the program and to take advantage of the financial incentives available.
The Note 7 was recalled back in September after multiple reports of units that caught fire. Replacement units were quickly sent out, and those units were then quickly recalled in mid-October when it became apparent that they had the same problem.
Samsung has been trying out different methods across the globe for getting Note 7 owners to return their phones. Currently, Note 7s in the US are restricted from charging past 60 percent and receive a pop-up notification about the recall every time the screen is turned on. In Canada, Note 7s are about to have all wireless networking disabled — they won't even be able to make a phone call.
Removing the phone's charging capability — and, therefore, disabling it once and for all — as it's doing in the US next week is the farthest that Samsung has gone yet. This appears to be Samsung's final attempt to get remaining Note 7s back in its possession or else remove the risk of them catching fire, since their batteries soon won't be able to charge in the first place.
Note 7 owners can still return their phones or exchange them for other Samsung devices.