Samsung Halts Galaxy Note 7 Production as Battery Problems Linger
When Samsung Electronics introduced its sleek, high-end Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in August, one of its senior executives called it “the most intelligent smartphone that we have ever created.”
三星电子(Samsung Electronics)在八月推出光鲜亮丽的高端智能手机盖乐世Note 7(Galaxy Note 7)时，该公司的一名高管称它是“我们造出的最智能的智能手机”。
Today, that model — which the South Korean electronics giant was counting on to help it close the gap with Apple, its biggest rival — looks more like an expensive problem that will not go away.
Samsung has temporarily halted production of the Galaxy Note 7, a person familiar with the decision said on Monday, amid reports that a number of the devices had caught fire. The decision comes just five weeks after Samsung said it would recall 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones after reports of battery fires, suggesting that it has not been able to fix the problem.
一名熟悉相关决定的人士周一表示，在得到不少盖乐世Note 7着火的报告后，三星已经暂时停止生产这款手机。就在五周前，三星在得到电池着火的报告后表示将召回250万部盖乐世Note 7，停产的决定意味着它无法解决相关的问题。
On Tuesday, the company asked retailers and carriers to stop selling the phones until the problem was fixed, and said “consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device.”
周二，该公司请求零售商和运营商停止销售这款手机，直到问题得到解决，并表示“不管是原来的盖乐世Note 7还是换货后的盖乐世Note 7，用户均应关机并停止使用”。
Samsung had initially said that the problem was solved, after allowing consumers to trade in their phones for new ones. But production was halted after telecommunications companies in the United States and Australia said they would not offer the Galaxy Note 7 following reports of fires involving new phones in which the problem was supposedly fixed.
In a disclosure to the South Korean stock exchange on Monday, Samsung said it was “temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note 7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters.” It said it hoped to provide an update within a month.
Samsung made the decision to halt production for consumer safety reasons and in cooperation with the authorities in the United States and China, according to the person familiar with the process.
The problems call into question Samsung’s campaign to catch up with Apple. While Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone company by market share, Apple has a strong hold on the expensive end of the market with the iPhone.
Samsung is also grappling with problems on another front. Last week, a large American hedge fund, Elliott Management, called for the company to overhaul its structure, putting pressure on Samsung’s leaders to justify their actions.
Samsung had been regaining some ground in the high-end market recently with its latest Galaxy phones, which feature curved edges and offer a more premium feel than its budget phones. The Galaxy Note 7 — with its 5.7-inch screen and a price tag exceeding $800 for a phone not tied to a specific carrier — was supposed to add to that momentum.
When the company announced the recall last month, it identified “a battery cell issue” and said it had stopped using batteries from that supplier, which it did not identify by name. But the recurring problem led industry experts to wonder whether the problem went beyond sloppy production and resulted from a faulty battery or software design.
The Galaxy Note 7 boasted a higher-capacity battery to help its increasingly sophisticated features, like an iris scanner for added security. It also supported fast and wireless charging technologies.
Samsung is by far South Korea’s largest and most profitable company, and its smartphones have been one of its main sources of revenue in recent years. The crisis threatens to undermine the brand name the company has taken decades to build.
Last week, Pak Yu-ak, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Company in Seoul, the capital, estimated that the initial recall was the big driver behind a nearly 40 percent drop in operating profit for Samsung’s IT and mobile device division in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, though he predicted a fourth-quarter rebound.
上周，在韩国首都首尔的建佑证券(Kiwoom Securities Company)分析师朴裕乐（Pak Yu-ak，音）估计，起初的召回是三星信息技术和移动设备部门第三季度营业利润环比下降近40%的重要原因，不过他预计第四季度会有回升。
But that was before major telecom companies began saying they would stop offering the Galaxy Note 7. Lee Se-cheol, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities in Seoul, said that if the sales of the Samsung model were to be suspended for the fourth quarter, it would cost $630 million in lost revenue, making the company more dependent on its semiconductor business for profit.
但这是在主要的电信公司开始表示将停售盖乐世Note 7之前。首尔NH投资证券公司分析师李世哲（Lee Se-cheol，音）表示，如果第四季度停止销售盖乐世Note 7，会带来6.3亿美元的收入损失，致使三星更加依赖半导体业务盈利。
Samsung initially won plaudits for the scale of its Sept. 2 recall, the largest ever in the smartphone industry. But the recall has been plagued with problems, including communications issues between Samsung executives and safety officials in the United States.
Last week, a Southwest Airlines flight in the United States was evacuated after a Galaxy Note 7 began smoking inside the plane. The owner and his family told the news media that the phone was a replacement model. Samsung said it would investigate the incident.
上周，因为飞机上的一部盖乐世Note 7手机开始冒烟，西南航空(Southwest Airlines)一架航班上的乘客被疏散。冒烟手机的所有者及其家人对新闻媒体表示，手机是更换后的新机。三星表示将调查此事。
On Sunday, the American wireless carrier AT&T said it would stop selling or replacing Galaxy Note 7 smartphones because of reports of fires. Another major carrier, T-Mobile, also said it was temporarily halting sales and exchanges of new Galaxy Note 7s.
周日，美国无线运营商AT&T表示因为收到手机起火的报告，将停止销售或更换盖乐世Note 7智能手机。另一家主要的运营商T-Mobile也表示将暂停销售和更换盖乐世Note 7新机。
SK Telecom and other South Korean mobile carriers have not taken similar steps yet, saying that they were closely monitoring the situation.
Three of Australia’s biggest telecom companies — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Australia — said they had stopped shipping Galaxy Note 7 phones to customers after reports that the replacement model had caught fire in the United States.
澳大利亚排名靠前的三家电信公司泰尔斯特拉(Telstra)、奥普图斯(Optus)和沃达丰澳大利亚(Vodafone Australia)表示，看到美国出现更换的新机着火的报道后，它们已停止向消费者提供盖乐世Note 7。
“We have asked Samsung to provide us with an update on their investigations as a matter of priority and will update our customers as soon as we learn more,” said Steve Carey, a spokesman at Telstra, Australia’s largest carrier. There have been no reported fires in the handsets sold in Australia, Mr. Carey said.
“我们首先要求三星向我们介绍调查的最新进展，一旦了解到更多情况，我们将告知消费者，”澳大利亚最大的运营商泰尔斯特拉的发言人史蒂夫·凯里(Steve Carey)说，并表示尚未收到澳大利亚境内售出的盖乐世Note 7着火的报告。