Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 which caught fire last year and forced a recall is being re-launched as the Galaxy Note Fan Edition (FE) using parts from unused handsets, the South Korean giant said on Sunday. The Galaxy Note FE will be released on July 7 with a limited number of 400,000 devices in South Korea and will cost 699,600 won ($609), which is around a third cheaper than the original Note 7. Samsung said that overseas sales of the smartphone will be decided at a later date.
Samsung is upgrading Google’s Android software that runs on the device to make it the same as the interface on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, the firm’s current flagship device. The Galaxy Note FE will also be getting Bixby – Samsung’s smart assistant that rivals the likes of Apple’s Siri. Other key features include fingerprint and eye scanner as well as waterproofing. Samsung’s Galaxy Note Fan Edition has features such as an iris scanner, fingerprint sensor, and stylus. The battery, which was the main reasons the original Note 7 exploded, has been “further enhanced with multiple safety designs”, Samsung said in a press release in Korean, translated via Google Translate.
Samsung launched the original Note 7 last year, but after a number of reports that the device was overheating and catching fire, the tech giant was forced to carry out a recall. It was the most embarrassing moment for the company which apologized on numerous occasions to its customers, and then launched an investigation into the cause. The debacle led to authorities around the world banning the device from being taken on planes and cost the company billions of dollars in profit. Before the issues with the Note 7 came to light, however, it had received positive reviews. After the recall was announced, many consumers resisted giving their phone back, even as Samsung issued a number of warnings about the dangers of keeping the device.
Samsung will be hoping the Note FE will appeal to the fans of the Note 7 which offers a large screen and stylus to differentiate it from many devices on the market. “Samsung has very carefully positioned it to the most devoted, most well-informed consumers and therefore they will be able to understand that Samsung have reworked the existing product and delivered it,” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC by phone on Monday. “You could also argue if Samsung is keen to continue using the Note brand for more business centric and productivity devices, reintroducing the Note 7 successfully would help them re-establish the brand ahead of any potential Note 8 launch.” A number of leaks and reports have suggested that Samsung is gearing up to release a Note 8 device, which would be the successor of the discontinued Note 7.