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Two U.S. carriers to halt all sales, exchanges of Note 7 [UPDATED]

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Samsung can’t put the second half of the year behind it fast enough. And its troubles are yet to subside; quite the contrary, they are worsening.

Two major U.S. carriers — AT&T and T-Mobile — on Sunday said they would halt all sales and exchanges of the troubled Samsung phone following reports of fires caused by new and “safe” Note 7 units.

“Based on recent reports, we’re no longer exchanging new Note 7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents,” AT&T said in an email sent to The Verge Sunday. “We still encourage customers with a recalled Note 7 to visit an AT&T location to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other smartphone of their choice.”

[irp posts=”4473″ name=”You should replace your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 before it’s too late”]

T-Mobile head John Legere on Twitter said his company would stop selling and exchanging the Note 7 “out of an abundance of caution for our customers.” The carrier encourages subscribers to exchange their Note 7s with another device on T-Mobile and is giving a $25 credit on their bill.

U.S regulators are currently investigating the replacement Note 7 handset that caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight on October 5. The plane was evacuated prior to take-off and no injuries were reported. At least four other incidents of replacement Note 7s catching fire have been reported in the U.S. alone.

In Minnesota, a young girl said she experienced a “weird, burning sensation” while holding her device; the phone later showed burn marks that were consistent with previous cases of Note 7s that were literally too hot to handle.

A man from Kentucky told local news outlet WKYT he woke up to find his bedroom filled with black smoke from his burnt Note 7. The man went on to say Samsung knew about it and didn’t say anything.

Even more damning, a Samsung representative allegedly sent him an inadvertent text message (likely intended for another company official) which said: “Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it.”

[irp posts=”4936″ name=”How to identify a safe Samsung Galaxy Note 7″]

The fourth incident involves a man in Virginia whose replacement Note 7 “burst into flames” on his nightstand on October 9th. The man provided The Verge with copies of his receipts and photographs of his Note 7 box to corroborate his story.

The latest reported incident came from a Texas family who witnessed their device catch fire on a table. It had been replaced at a retail store in September.

Samsung has since issued a statement in which it said it is investigating the fires and working with U.S. authorities — in particular, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) — throughout the investigation. The company promises to share its findings “as soon as possible.” You can read the full statement below.

Samsung understands the concern our carriers and consumers must be feeling after recent reports have raised questions about our newly released replacement Note 7 devices.

We continue to move quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause and will share findings as soon as possible.

We remain in close contact with the CPSC throughout this process.

If we conclude a safety issue exists, we will work with the CPSC to take immediate steps to address the situation.

We want to reassure our customers that we take every report seriously and we appreciate their patience as we work diligently through this process.

At this point, it seems almost certain that we’ll hear about another global recall soon, and that the once-promising flagship will be pulled from shelves for good this time.

If the reports are indeed accurate, Samsung should cut its losses and discontinue the Note 7, and focus its efforts on making amends with affected customers. And it has to knock everyone’s socks off with next year’s S8 to even have a chance at winning back public opinion. That phone ought to be capable of doing more than just scanning irises and taking pictures with two rear cameras.

UPDATE, October 10: Verizon also announced today it would stop issuing replacement Note 7 phones to its customers. The company has the most wireless subscribers in the U.S.

UPDATE 2, October 11: The Galaxy Note 7 is done for. Samsung has asked all carriers and retail partners to “stop sales and exchanges” of the phone. Here’s the latest statement from the company.

We are working with relevant regulatory bodies to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note 7. Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 while the investigation is taking place.

We remain committed to working diligently with appropriate regulatory authorities to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation. Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device and take advantage of the remedies available.

UPDATE 3, October 12: Samsung said on Tuesday it would permanently cease production and sales of the Galaxy Note 7, The Wall Street Journal reports. To quote the company’s statement:

Taking our customer’s safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7.

The move effectively ends the phablet’s brief and embattled existence. Analysts said it could cost the company $17 billion in losses and forgone sales.

Source: The Verge, Samsung

Apps

TikTok, Tencent linked to sexually violent ads on Facebook

Ads continue to run on platform

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Facebook has an ad problem. After spending years on the platform, you might have noticed a plethora of misplaced ads occasionally peppered on your feed. Though most users cringe at how the algorithm can uncannily show appropriate ads right after talking about a certain topic, a series of more off-putting, offensive, and disturbing ads is making the rounds on the social media platform. Now, following a deep dive, a report has found that ByteDance and Tencent are affiliated with the phenomenon.

What are these Facebook ads? In a report from Forbes’s Emily Baker-White, several web novel companies are advertising erotic content on the platform. However, more than just erotica, these ads promote sexual, violence, rape, and self-harm. Some are even using images of popular personalities without their permission.

A particularly egregious example involves a photo of a crying woman in the shower with the caption: “his personal cum bucket.” A few others are more up front about harming women to get sex.

Others depict scenes from Twilight and Star Wars, despite not being affiliated at all with the titles. Several companies and personalities contacted by Forbes confirmed that they did not give these novel apps any permission to use their likeness.

As for the deep dive, a good number of these companies were previously backed by either ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, or Tencent, one of the biggest Chinese companies in the world. While ByteDance has claimed that the apps don’t reflect their values, these ads continue to proliferate around the platform. Tencent has likewise denied any involvement with the campaigns.

It’s also worth nothing that the apps aren’t limited to just China. One app, called Pinky Novel, operates from the Philippines and is spreading similarly troubling ads everywhere, including one that says, “Raped by Mr. CEO.”

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Enterprise

Apple has been raided in South Korea

For alleged anti-market practices

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The troubles for Apple will continue. After spending a length of time fighting investigations all over the world for alleged anti-competition practices, the company’s offices in South Korea have been raided by authorities to further the investigation in the country.

Covered by Foss Patents (via MacRumors), the Korea Fair Trade Commission conducted a raid on the offices at the break of dawn. Authorities reportedly staged the raid after a developer complained of an unfair commission rate. According to the complaint, developers are paying more than 30 percent commission for having their apps on the App Store.

For a rougher breakdown, Apple still charges 30 percent. However, the commission includes VAT, which spikes the total fees paid above 30 percent. In contrast, Google’s 30 percent commission policy does not include VAT, which makes for a lower fee for developers.

With the number of apps on the App Store, Apple is making significant bank by skimming a bit more on commissions. That is, if the allegations prove true, of course. Right now, the company is still under investigation. But, if anything, a dawn raid isn’t a good sign for the iPhone maker.

Apple isn’t the only one in hot water, though. Google is also facing a similar controversy in South Korea. However, instead of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the Kora Communications Commission is pushing for more parity between Google and Apple.

SEE ALSO: South Korea investigating Apple and Google for app payments

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Android users can react to SMS messages from iPhones soon

While simultaneously annoying iPhone users

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One of the most unexpected small developments this year is the war of the green bubble. For a while now, Apple has kept Android users inside a green text bubble. If an Android user texts an iOS user, an iPhone conveniently lets its user know that someone is texting them from — gasp — an Android phone. Now, Google, in the next step of its crusade against the green bubble, is running a similar experiment of its own.

Recently, as spotted by Reddit user u/Jabjab345 (via GSMArena), Google is testing a new feature for Android users. In a beta version, users can start reacting to SMS messages from an iPhone. Of course, much like how it is from the other way around, there is a little hiccup.

In most web-based messaging services, reactions are often tiny bubbles attached to one corner of the message. However, since iOS and Android use different systems, it doesn’t work that way between the two platforms. Instead, if an iOS user reacts to an Android user’s message, users get a separate message with the emoji reaction. Now (or after the beta, at least), Android will treat iOS in the same way, sending iOS users a separate message for reactions.

Right now, the feature is still in beta. However, an implementation is par for the course. Previously, Google threw some shade at Apple for not adopting the system that the former uses. In retaliation, Tim Cook recently told a user to just buy their mom an iPhone if texting was such an issue.

SEE ALSO: Apple on adopting Android’s features: Just ‘buy your mom an iPhone’

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