Samsung to sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 phones after disabling original batch

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Samsung)
Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 handsets will be sold as refurbished phones after the original batch suffered a battery defect.

Samsung is reportedly issuing a software update that will completely disable any remaining Galaxy Note 7 devices in its home market of South Korea. But the company also announced plans to sell the phones as refurbished devices.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Friday that Samsung’s latest update “will completely prevent users from using the product,” including shutting off access to networks. All four major U.S. carriers pushed a software update from Samsung in December designed to brick the phone by preventing it from being recharged, but some tech-savvy owners may have been able to avoid the push. (Verizon initially said it would not issue the upgrade before reversing course and joining its rivals in supporting the software push.)

But Monday morning, the tech giant also released a statement saying it will sell Galaxy Note 7 handsets “as refurbished phones or rental phones where applicable.”

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“Regarding the Galaxy Note 7 devices as refurbished phones or rental phones, applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand,” the company said in a press release. “The markets and release dates will be determined accordingly.”

Samsung also said that some Note 7 components may be reused for other devices, and that extractions of copper, nickel, gold and silver “shall be performed using environmentally friendly methods.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission officially announced a recall of the Note 7 last year after Samsung received 92 reports of batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage including fires. Samsung produced a second wave of devices, but issued a second recall after a replacement phone caught fire aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.

Samsung last week unveiled Bixby, its response to AI-powered personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. The offering will debut with the Galaxy S8, which is slated to be announced later this week, and will eventually be supported by Samsung’s entire line of “appliances,” Senior Vice President InJong Rhee wrote on the company’s blog.

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