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BW Businessworld

Who Is Taking Advantage Of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 Debacle?

The company tried to act responsibly by recalling all handsets and promised customers to replace their devices, but the damage has been done

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After Samsung's total recall, now the Galaxy Note 7 has been officially declared dead. The phone by the largest Android phone maker in the world which could prove to be the greatest smartphone ever has lost its sheen and has hit the company's shares along with its brand name.

Perhaps now the war between Android and iOS phones would see a new turn just after Samsung's missed opportunities to Apple and Google phones. Even the Chinese cell-phone makers are not far from the reach of customers who are swearing to never buy Samsung again.

The brand tried to act responsibly, recalled all handsets, and assured customers to replace their devices, but the damage has been done. The customer base suffered a lot of inconvenience and the fire in the Note 7 actually burnt the brand loyalty to ashes.

With a dented image, Samsung stands at a possibility of losing quite a lot of business to the other brands in the market, maybe for good. As the cell phone business is simple, a customer hardly ever thinks of switching his platform. If he ever does it will be once and he would rarely go back. Switching from Android to Apple's iOS means getting used to the peculiarities of a different operating system, which builds the boundaries of customer loyalty. It can mean having to deal with migrating apps, charging styles, pictures, contacts and ringtones.

It's the right time to observe a pervasive mindset in the cellphone business where all good reasons for this line of thinking go beyond blind brand loyalty. However, the news of this model's failure has come out at the worst possible time for Samsung. When the festive season is on and people make the maximum amount of bookings on electronics or gadgets.

Alternatively, for competitors such as Apple and Google, what would be a better opportunity to emerge as a strong substitute with iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel phone and Pixel XL for the high-end mobile phone users. Especially for Google, unveiling the first pure Pixel smartphone couldn't be at a better timing. Even iPhone 7 is a solid-upgrade, despite headphones and jack concerns. Both these two have 12 mega-pixel class cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was launched on August 2 and first went on sale in the US and South Korea in mid-August. The phone was supposed to be launched in India by the end of August, but that never happened. The South Korean firm, which is the largest manufacturer of lithium batteries still doesn't know what went wrong with the Galaxy Note 7, according to report in the New York Times Samsung engineers are still trying to figure out the problem.

Due to the new flagship device, Note 7, Samsung has reportedly lost close to $17 billion of the market share even though the year had started on a good note with big profits. Note 7 alone was expected to sell around 14 million of these devices.

However, the bigger problem for India seems to be the grey markets with stocking Note 7. Shopkeepers in India are still offering mixed signals about the promises made for replacing the batteries. They don't seem to know about the recall by Samsung. In Delhi, especially some vendors say that the device isn't available in stock but can be made available for Rs 56- 58K.

Samsung has been ignoring the biggest smartphone market India for quite some time now. For instance, while it has been promising timely refunds elsewhere but Indian customers have seen almost no sign of refund which ideally could have completed in 5-7 days. So, yes along with the recall, non-timely refunds could rupture Samsung's reputation in India further.

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samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones android apple