Note 7 users will be forced to put down their exploding smartphones

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 has got to be the world’s most lovable exploding smartphone.

Despite the phone’s highly publicized track record of having battery problems that have caused some units to overheat and catch fire and led to a global recall by Samsung, there appear to be a number of Note 7 hold-outs who just can’t let go of the darn things.

That’s right: Even as airlines around the world have had to formally ban the Note 7 from flights out of fears that a spontaneously erupting smartphone might cause a mid-air problem, some users continue to hold on to their devices.

Those days, though, are numbered.

After major telecom companies stopped selling the devices in October, T-Mobile has become the first major carrier to push an update to Note 7 owners handsets that will prevent the battery from charging, thus turning each phone into, well, a brick.

Once updated, the Note 7 ‘s screen will feature a notification about the recall, and other carriers are expected to follow suit in coming weeks with Verizon being the only exception for now.

This could be the final nail for the ill-phated phablet, first unveiled on August 2. Once  battery problems started popping up, the South Korean tech giant was forced to issue two global recalls and then a permanent end of production, creating an ocean of bad press for the manufacturer and an estimated $17-billion hit to the company’s bottom line.

T-Mobile’s software push isn’t the first time someone’s tried to get users to give up their Note 7s. Samsung rolled out a software update back in September in South Korea that limited the device’s  battery to a 60 percent charge in the hopes that that would prevent overheating. Then in November, T-Mobile released an update that included a system of pop-up notifications about the recall anytime an owner rebooted, charged or simply turned on the screen of the device. The idea was apparently to drive users nuts, prompting them to swap the phone for a non-exploding model.

The latest update to effectively kill the beast comes as the Note 7 continues to generate bad news. Just last week, a Virgin America flight out of San Francisco was grounded and searched for the recalled smartphone after a passenger switched the name of their portable Wi-Fi hotspot to “Galaxy Note 7_1097.” Since Note 7’s are banned, other passengers and the flight crew feared there was a dangerous device on board.

The crew issued urgent announcements, demanding that the Note 7 user  identify himself. The pilot said that if the scofflaw did not step forward the flight would be diverted and land in Wyoming, about 1,700 miles west of its intended destination of Boston.

The clueless culprit eventually came forward, admitting that he did not in fact have a Note 7 but had simply changed his hot-spot ID to something that made it look like he did. Passengers tweeted that the plane eventually arrived in Boston, late and with not a single Note 7 in sight.

Credit: Signboards of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 are displayed at an entrance of a Samsung showroom in Seoul on Sept. 2, 2016, just weeks before Samsung had to recall the phones because of reports of exploding batteries. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

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