The new year can't come soon enough for Samsung. The company had such a rough 2016 that even some of its washing machines were causing some injuries.
Of course, the main source of Samsung's nightmarish year was all of the exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphones. It was such a widespread problem that production on the phone had to be shut down and all units have been recalled. Now, Samsung is taking what's being called the "nuclear option" on all Note 7's that haven't been returned.
Since the Galaxy Note 7 was released in August, there have been a number of reports of overheating and spontaneous combustion. Samsung offered a replacement program, but the replacement phones had the same overheating issues. This led to a massive recall and production of the phone was killed.
Since these issues began, 93 percent of Galaxy Note 7 models in the U.S. have been returned. The rest of the phones that have yet to be returned will soon be put out of commission.
Samsung has started sending out an over-the-air software update to T-Mobile customers who still have the Note 7. This update will prevent the phone from charging, rendering it useless.
This is known as the "bricking" process, essentially turning the phone into a fancy brick. This latest method to disable the smartphone via software is Samsung's final attempt to coax the remaining 7 percent of Note 7 holdovers to turn in their gadgets.
Samsung's statement on bricking Note 7 phones
According to Samsung's official recall page, "Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we’ve had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note 7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note 7 devices returned. To further increase participation, a software update will be released that will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note 7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices."
You can read the full statement as well as details on the refund and exchange program here.
This software update was originally scheduled to be sent through most major carriers on December 19. For undisclosed reasons, it was pushed back to later dates.
As I said earlier, T-Mobile customers have already begun receiving the update. AT&T and Verizon will begin pushing the update out to their customers on January 5, 2017. Sprint will start the update process on January 8, 2017.
This "nuclear option" might seem excessive, but it's a must-do situation in the name of safety. It's understandable to be loyal to a phone that you love, but it's not worth the risk. So if you are one of the Note 7 holdovers, please take advantage of the refund and exchange program.