Samsung will remotely disable all U.S. Galaxy Note 7s on December 19

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If you decided to ignore the Galaxy Note 7 recall because your love for the handset is greater than your fear of it exploding, then you only have a few more days left to use it and turn it in.

Samsung has officially confirmed that it will disable all Galaxy Note 7 handsets running on major networks through an update that will roll out starting on December 19. In other words, now that 93 percent of handsets in the U.S. have been returned, Samsung is taking this drastic step to ensure that the owners of the remaining 7 percent return their devices.

“To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19 that will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note 7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices,” said Samsung in a statement. “If you have not yet returned your device, you should immediately power it down and contact your carrier to obtain a refund or exchange.”

In other words, if you haven’t yet sorted out a replacement device, you’d better do so soon.

Samsung has already taken steps to encourage users to return the device, issuing a reminder pop-up message each time the phone’s screen is turned on. It also issued an update to limit the Note 7’s ability to charge beyond 60 percent.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 went from hero to zero pretty much as soon as it launched back in the summer. It received rave reviews at the start, with Digital Trends, for example, praising its “stunning, comfortable design” and “fresh user interface.”

But it soon emerged that there was a serious battery issue that caused some Note 7s to overheat, and in some cases explode.

With more than 90 reports in the U.S. of the handset overheating, extending to “26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage,” the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a formal recall notice to the more than one million U.S-based owners of the device. Samsung started circulating new Note 7 units with fresh batteries, but some of those also turned out to have serious issues. With the whole launch turning into a shambles, the company finally ended sales of the phone in October.

Owners can return the device for a refund or replacement, but it seems some people are determined never to give it back –despite its serious flaws.

Updated on 12-9-2016 by Christian de Looper: Added official word from Samsung saying that all Note 7s would be disabled.

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