By Cue Sibiya
Samsung Electronics said on Sunday it would start selling a refurbished version of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone this week, after an embarrassing recall over exploding batteries rocked the tech giant last year.
The recall of millions of Galaxy Note 7 devices cost the world’s largest smartphone maker billions of dollars in lost profits and hammered its global reputation.
The refurbished device, made of recalled, unsealed Note 7 handsets and unused components were outfitted with new batteries, Samsung said in a statement.
The limited-edition phone – the Galaxy Note Fan Edition (FE) – were set to hit shelves in South Korea on July 7, Samsung said, adding it would only sell 400,000 units at home.
The firm said it would decide later whether to release the refurbished edition elsewhere, which is priced at $611 (nearly R8,000) domestically, far lower than the previous version that was nearly $1,000.
About three million Galaxy Note 7 handsets were returned to the firm last year, but campaign groups including Greenpeace expressed concern that discarding the phones could harm the environment.
“The latest launch of the Galaxy Note FE… has a significant meaning as an environment-friendly project that minimised the waste of resources,” Samsung said in a statement.
The recall – the largest-ever by the South Korean tech giant – was deeply embarrassing for Samsung, but it just launched a new flagship device, the Galaxy S8, to positive reviews and strong orders.
In April, Samsung posted its biggest quarterly net profit in more than three years, although the company had come under pressure on wider fronts.
Lee Jae-Yong, the Samsung group’s vice-chairman and heir to its leadership, was on trial for bribery over his role in a massive corruption scandal that brought down impeached former president Park Geun-Hye.
Lee was accused of bribing Park and her confidante Choi Soon-Sil with millions of dollars to seek regulatory favours.