Tech giant Samsung is to halt the sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after reports of exploding batteries, in potentially a major stumble for the phonemaker as it seeks to make ground against key rivals like Apple. Hayley Platt reports.
An apology from the head of Samsung's Electronics Mobile Business. And a generous offer to customers of its Galaxy Note 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS MOBILE BUSINESS CHIEF, KOH DONG-JIN, SAYING: "We've decided to halt sales of the Galaxy Note 7 and offer new replacement handsets to all customers no matter when they bought it." The decision came after some customers complained their phone caught fire whilst charging. Samsung say a faulty battery is behind the problem. Ten countries are affected but not China where they use a different type of battery. The phone only launched two weeks ago. So far 2.5 million have been sold. SOUNDBITE (English) IG SENIOR ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "Indeed there was a sense that Samsung was the place to be given Apple's lack of new ideas over the last couple of years. The fact that Samsung products have got significantly better. I think the news that they now have a tendency to explode will really hit sales quite a bit." And, though some are forgiving, possibly its reputation. SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 26-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN, PARK SUNG-HWAN, SAYING: "I had thought of getting a Galaxy Note 7 when it first came out, but seeing all the bad things that have happened, I don't think I will." (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 49-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN SAMSUNG PHONE USER, HAN SANG-WOO, SAYING: "If the company responds initially and solves the technical problem, the national image of Korea will not be hurt too much, plus, the effect will only be short-term." The company's quick action may appease some. But investors aren't likely to be too pleased. Its mobile division accounts for more than half of its Electronics arm. And the announcement comes just ahead of Apple's launch of its latest smartphone.