Samsung Electronics (005930.KR) has quietly resurrected its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which was the source of a major corporate brouhaha last year because of its unwanted tendency to catch fire.
The Korean tech giant will release a refurbished edition of the model – which was subject to a global recall in 2016 – at the start of next month, reports the Wall Street Journal. The new smartphone will be billed ‘Fandom Edition’ and initially available only to South Korean consumers.
Here’s the Wall Street Journalwith more on this devices’s colorful history. It could be made available to international audiences later:
Samsung recalled around three million Galaxy Note 7 devices last year after reports of some devices catching fire—a debacle that cost the company at least $5 billion and saw the devices banned on various airlines.
The South Korean company concluded earlier this year that the overheating in some devices came from design and manufacturing problems with the devices’ batteries. According to Samsung, the defect affected 330 out of the three million Note 7 phones that it sold.
Interestingly, the article raises the prospect of the revived Galaxy Note 7 cannibalizing sales of the Galaxy S8, Samsung’s newer smartphone. While that would certainly be ironic, analysts seem to think this won’t be the case.
Along with U.S. tech titan Apple (APPL), Samsung is one of the world’s two biggest makers of smartphones. One thing that’s irked investors about this stock, like many big Korean companies, is that Samsung’s perceived to not be doing enough in terms of shareholder returns. Samsung’s taking steps to rectify this, last November announcing bigger dividends and that it would consider restructuring.
Smoldering Galaxy Note 7s aren’t the only ignominy that’s haunted this company lately. Samsung’s heir, Jay Lee, is on trial for alleged bribery and embezzlement in a scandal tied to former President Park Geun-hye. At the end of last year, Barron’s advised investors to ignore the noise surrounding corporate scandals at Samsung and focus on its burgeoning memory chips and improving shareholder returns. The stock’s surged almost a third since New Year.