Samsung to issue Galaxy Note 7 disabling update

The next software update for the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone will render the devices useless in order to prevent any more incidents involving the devices.

The company announced on Monday that the update will prevent the phones from charging and functioning as mobile phones, effectively turning them into expensive paperweights. 

A widely-reported problem with the device’s lithium ion battery led some units to catch alight. The issue persisted even after Samsung recalled, replaced and refunded some of the units leading to a recall of all 1.9 million devices. 

As a result of the phone’s volatility, the devices were banned from multiple airlines which led Samsung to open stalls in airports where owners can swap or refund the phone before boarding their flight. 

The company claims that more than 93 per cent of the devices have been returned as part of the exhange program, but stated that some units remain "in the wild".

Samsung announced that the software update will be released on December 19th in the US and follows efforts by the company’s partners to prevent use of the device. Facebook issued a software update in October to prevent the Gear VR headset from working with the Note 7. 

Not everyone has been supportive of Samsung’s latest bid to remove its handsets from public circulation. US telecomms network Verizon issued a statement saying it would not push the update to its customers to avoid the added risk it could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users who don’t have another device to switch to.

“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,” the company said in a statment.

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