Samsung Electronics is recalling its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and said that battery problems were behind phones catching fire.
The decision follows reports in the US and South Korea of the phone “exploding” during or after charging.
The South Korean company said customers who already bought the phone will be able to swap it for a new one.
The recall comes just one week ahead of an expected presentation of a new iPhone model from its main rival Apple.
“We have received several reports of battery explosion on the Note 7 that was officially launched on August 19… and it has been confirmed that it was a battery cell problem,” the president of Samsung’s mobile business Koh Dong-jin told reporters.
The firms said it would take about two weeks to prepare replacement devices.
According to Samsung, the phone has been launched in 10 countries so far but with different companies supplying the batteries.
Over the past days, several users had reported their phones caught fire or exploded while charging, and Samsung said it had confirmed 35 such cases.
A YouTube user uploaded a video of a Galaxy Note 7 with burnt rubber casing and damaged screen under the name Ariel Gonzalez on 29 August.
He said the handset “caught fire” shortly after he unplugged the official Samsung charger, less than a fortnight after purchasing it.
Further images of a burnt Galaxy Note 7 were uploaded to Kakao Story, a popular social media site in Korea, on 30 August.
A user wrote: “There was another explosion of the Galaxy Note 7. It was my friend’s phone. A Samsung employee checked the site and he is currently in talks over the compensation with Samsung. You should use its original charger just in case and leave the phone far away from where you are while charging.”
The phone was only launched on 19 August and has since them been generally well-received by critics and consumers.
The Galaxy Note 7 model is the latest of Samsungs’ series of so called phablets – smartphones with very large screens and, in the case of Samsung, featuring a stylus.
Samsung also added an iris scanner to the Note 7, which lets users unlock the phone by detecting patterns in the eyes.
In July, Samsung beat expectations with record earnings in the latest quarter with strong smartphone sales helping the firm post its best quarterly results in more than two years.
Samsung had predicted continued increase in demand for its smartphones and tablets in the second half of the year.
Do you have more to share about this story – photos or video etc – you can send
them to: ([email protected])