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02.16.17 | 6:00 pm

More bad news for Samsung—vice chairman Jay Y. Lee arrested on bribery charges

The 48-year-old executive was arrested and taken into custody today after a South Korean district court issued a warrant earlier. Lee is accused of bribery and other charges in the corruption scandal that caused the South Korean parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye.

The Seoul Central District Court deliberated on the matter all day Thursday, and Lee was apprehended by police outside the court just after the warrant was issued. That same court also declined to issue and arrest warrant for Samsung president Park Sang-jin.

Today's event is yet another body-blow against Samsung's reputation. It's been a bruising year already after the company was forced to recall and remove from market its Galaxy Note 7 phone. The batteries in the phone blew up after Samsung failed to discover dangerous design flaws during production.

02.01.17 | 12:17 pm

IDC: Apple sold more phones than Samsung in Q4 2016 after strong iPhone 7 push

*Apple sold 78.3 million smartphones worldwide in the December-ending quarter, IDC says. Samsung sold 77.5 million.

*IDC preliminary data shows smartphone vendors together shipped a total of 428.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2016.

*For full-year 2016, a total of 1.47 billion smartphones shipped around the world, even as fears continue that the market is shrinking.

*Full year 2016 sales marked the highest year of shipments on record, IDC says, but that was just a 2.3% increase from the 1.44 billion units shipped in 2015.

See the full press release, and more graphs, here.

01.23.17 | 7:53 pm

Samsung’s thriving chip business eased the pain of the Note 7 debacle, earnings report shows

• Samsung's overall operating profit was up by 50% to 9.22 trillion won ($7.93 billion) in the October-December quarter, up from 6.14 trillion won last year, fueled mainly by a strong chip business. 

After the nightmarish experience of the Galaxy Note 7 recall, the company's mobile phone business took a small but significant hit in the quarter. Smartphone sales were off 6% to 22.65 trillion won ($19.43 million). 

• Samsung's chip division killed it again this quarter with operating profit up 77% to 4.95 trillion won versus the year-earlier period.

(Samsung recalled its Galaxy Note 7 phones in October after numerous reports of the device's battery exploding.)

01.22.17 | 7:04 pm

Samsung says battery design and manufacturing problems led to Note 7 explosions

On Sunday night, Samsung announced the official results of an independent study into the causes of the Galaxy Note 7's battery explosions. The study found:

• The original manufacturer of the Note 7 batteries, Samsung SDI, built the positive and negative battery material layers too close together at the corner of the cells. This raised the potential for a short circuit in a highly charged battery. 

• The company that manufactured the batteries for the replacement Note 7 phones, ATL, introduced a manufacturing process flaw that caused further explosions in the phones. Excessive welding material in the batteries caused a short circuit between positive and negative layers.

• UL (one of the independent investigators) says more study is needed to find the "root cause" of the explosions.

10.14.16 | 6:47 am

Airlines start offering fire-containment bags after the Galaxy Note 7 exploding phone crisis

Delta, Virgin America, and Alaska Airlines have all introduced bright-red fire-containment bags to seal up overheating smartphones or laptop batteries. To protect its fleet of planes, the airlines bought the bags, which retail for $1,800 each and can withstand temperatures up to 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit. "This has been on the to-do list, but has been accelerated by recent events," Morgan Durrant, communications manager for Delta, told the Guardian. Earlier this week, Samsung announced a permanent halt to production of the Galaxy Note 7, after a spate of exploding batteries, but millions of consumers still have the phones.

10.11.16 | 6:50 am

Samsung announces total halt to production of Galaxy Note 7, which could cost company $17 billion

This morning, Samsung announced a total halt to production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone amid continuing safety concerns over the device's batteries bursting into flames. The move could cost the world's biggest smartphone maker $17 billion, say analysts. Consumers with either an original or a replacement Note 7 should power down and stop using the device, said the company. Previously, the company's production stoppage was considered temporary.

"We recently readjusted the production volume for thorough investigation and quality control, but putting consumer safety as top priority, we have reached a final decision to halt production of Galaxy Note 7s," Samsung executives said in a statement on Tuesday.

[Photo: Daniel Franks via The Verge]

10.09.16 | 10:01 pm

Report: Samsung has temporarily halted production of the Galaxy Note 7 after five replacement devices exploded

The nightmare gets worse. After new reports that batteries in Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones have continued to melt down or explode, Korea's Yonhap News Agency cites unnamed sources saying the Korean company has now stopped production of the devices entirely, if temporarily. 

Five Note 7s that were replaced as part of a global recall have now reportedly exploded. The latest happened over the weekend in Texas, the Verge reports. 

Earlier today, reports emerged that both AT&T and T-Mobile have announced that they will no longer distribute replacement Note 7 phones. 

10.05.16 | 1:58 pm

Oh no! A replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 catches fire on Southwest plane (updated with Samsung statement)

So reports the Verge after talking to both the airline and the owner of the phone. The plane, which was sitting on the ground in Louisville, was evacuated before takeoff when a Note 7 started smoking in the pocket of a passenger, Brian Green. Green had just powered the device down. 

The report couldn't be worse news for Samsung, which has launched a full recall of the phones due to defective batteries in the devices, and has already provided millions of replacements to customers. Samsung's statement: 

"Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share."

09.29.16 | 6:15 am

Samsung: More than a million people around the world are using Galaxy Note 7s with safe batteries

In a statement on its Chinese website, Samsung said that more than a million people around the world are using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones with batteries "that are not vulnerable to overheating and catching fire," reports Reuters. Earlier this month, the company announced a recall of 2.5 million smartphones in 10 markets amid reports of batteries catching fire. The fiasco is not expected to have that much of an impact on Samsung's bottom line, with analysts expecting a one-off recall cost of about 1 trillion Korean won ($913 million) and reduced margins in the third quarter.

09.23.16 | 3:05 pm

Samsung: About half of Galaxy Note 7 phones in the U.S. have been replaced

The Korean company sent a note to media today saying roughly half of the Galaxy Note 7 phones sold in the U.S. have now been exchanged through "Samsung's voluntary recall." Samsung began asking customers to return their Note 7s after 35 of them reportedly blew up due to a faulty battery. 

The company adds that 90% of Note 7 owners have been opted to get another Note 7 phone, rather than some other Samsung device. 

Samsung is said to have rushed its premium Note 7 to market because it felt the phone held an advantage over the iPhone 7. Samsung has not commented on that allegation. Samsung's "exchange program" began in early September. The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were announced September 7. 

09.09.16 | 5:07 pm

Black Friday for Samsung PR: Both FAA and CPSC warn against using Note 7 phones

Samsung stock, which has been a hot item this year, lost $10 billion in value Friday after the Federal Aviation Administration declared the Note 7 smartphone a fire hazard. The Korean company recalled 2.5 million phones in 10 countries last week after 35 of the phones reportedly blew up due to a battery defect.

Separately, Samsung issued a statement to media today saying that it is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) "on a voluntary corrective action plan to expedite a U.S. recall of the product." The CPSC issued its own global warning against using the Note 7 Friday.

09.09.16 | 7:40 am

Don’t use the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on planes, says the FAA

In the wake of several incidents involving Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones catching on fire and a global recall of those with fire-prone batteries, the FAA is telling airline passengers not to turn on the phones or charge them when on flights. The move comes after Qantas and Australian airlines already banned their use on planes. In a brief but strongly worded statement unusual in its specificity, the FAA said: 

In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.

[Photo: via Baidu]