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Why Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 recall couldn’t have come at a worse time

Samsung’s global recall of its new flagship Galaxy Note7 couldn’t have come at worse time for the electronics giant and it could be a body blow to its position as the number one global smartphone brand.

While Apple unveils its new iPhone in a few days, Samsung will be dealing with a massive recall of the Note7.

In this competitive market, the battle at the top end of town has always been between the giants Apple and Samsung.

Samsung has about 24 per cent global market share with Apple sitting on about 15 per cent.

The battery issue of the Note7, despite there only being 35 cases worldwide after selling more than 2.5 million units, is like a free kick for Apple as it debuts the iPhone 7 this week.

And when lines start forming outside Apple Stores when the iPhone 7 actually goes on sale, Samsung customers will be deciding whether to replace their Note7 or get their money back.

Note7Launch6

Tech Guide was in New York for the launch of the Galaxy Note7 and it was being positioned as the ultimate smartphones with a dazzling 5.7-inch screen and an iris scanner that allows you to unlock the device just by looking at it.

In our review of the Note7 we said it was probably the best smartphone Samsung has created – and we stand by that despite this latest controversy.

But for those customers who are deciding whether to get another Samsung or switch from an iPhone to the Note7 – this global recall could very well have made their minds up for them.

These users are like the swinging voters in an election. They are customers both Apple and Samsung relish when they’ve converted them to their devices.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a big point of stating many customers who had purchased the iPhone 6 – Apple’s first device with a larger screen – had switched from Android with a good proportion of those people leaving their Samsung device behind.

The iPhone 4

Before the Note7 issue, Samsung also had high hopes it could finally drag customers away from their beloved iPhones.

We had many of our readers and listeners contacting us about the ease of making the switch from iPhone to the Samsung Note7.

We also had the same reaction when Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were released earlier this year.

The biggest friction point for a customer contemplating making the change was getting their stuff off their iPhone and on to the Samsung device.

Samsung knew this too which was why they included a Smart Switch dongle that can make the migration even easier.

Steve Jobs fronts a media event to deal with Antennagate with the iPhone 4
Steve Jobs fronts a media event to deal with Antennagate with the iPhone 4

But Apple has seen its share of dramas in the past with its iPhones.

Who can forget Antennagate in 2010 – the claim that signal could be weakened or calls lost if you held the device in what became known as the “death grip”.

Then Apple CEO Steve Jobs cancelled a family vacation to Hawaii to front a hastily convened media event to explain that the phenomenon was not exclusive to the new iPhone which used the metal frame on the outside as part of the antenna.

Apple offered refunds to those not satisfied and a free bumper case as well. Hardly anyone asked for their money back.

In Samsung’s case with the Note7, the battery cell issue required a massive recall to ensure the safety of its customers.

And sadly, this isn’t Samsung’s first recall involving a product that could possibly explode.

The company is still dealing with the bad press around its top-loading washing machines catching fire and making the evening news.

But, to Samsung’s credit, they are being entirely open and upfront about the situation as they process Note7 refunds and exchanges.

The whole thing will cost Samsung millions but the biggest concern is over what money can’t buy – trying to maintain its reputation.

 

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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