A SAMSUNG phone user in France says her Galaxy J5 smartphone caught fire and exploded on Sunday. The model is different from the Galaxy Note 7 that has been recalled worldwide after some handsets began exploding.
Lamya Bouyirdane told The Associated Press that she noticed the phone was very hot after she asked her four-year-old son to pass it over during a family gathering at her home. She said she threw the phone away when she realised it had “swollen up” and smoke was coming out.
“I panicked when I saw the smoke and I had the reflex to throw it away,” said Bouyirdane, a mother of three in the southwestern French city of Pau. The phone then caught fire and the back blew off. Her partner quickly extinguished it.
Bouyirdane said she bought the phone new last June on a website offering discounts.
The South Korean company recently recalled millions of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones globally because of a problem that caused the batteries to overheat and catch fire.
William Stofega, a mobile analyst for IDC, said the incident in France was most likely an isolated one, noting that the phone has been on the market for several months now and this is the first report of a battery fire that he’s aware of.
“These reports tend to cluster,” he said.
He added that problems involving lithium-ion batteries used in not just smartphones, but also laptop computers, have been around for years and there’s no easy fix for them. Manufacturing defects or even a small amount of damage can cause a short circuit, resulting in an overheated battery and potentially a fire.
SAMSUNG TO OFFER DIGITAL ASSISTANT SERVICE IN GALAXY S8
The South Korean phone maker said overnight it will offer an artificial intelligence assistant service in the upcoming flagship smartphone as it seeks to recover from the Galaxy Note 7 catastrophe.
The Galaxy S8 will let users order food or perform other tasks without going through a third-party application but by simply asking the phone’s virtual assistant, Samsung said in a statement. The artificial intelligence service will also be made available in Samsung’s other consumer electronics products, such as refrigerators.
The company declined to disclose what specific tasks the S8 phone will perform through its artificial intelligence feature.
Sales of the Galaxy S8 will be crucial for the recovery of Samsung’s mobile business, which saw its latest quarterly profit nearly wiped out by two global recalls of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Samsung estimates it has lost at least $US5.3 billion ($A6.8 billion) as it discontinued the model, which overheated and caught fire.
The company said last month that it has not figured out what went wrong with the Note 7 phones.
The South Korean company joined the race to create the digital assistant service when it acquired in October Viv Labs Inc., a Silicon Valley start-up launched by the same entrepreneurs who sold Siri to Apple. Past and current Samsung phones offer a voice assistant service called “S Voice” developed internally, but the feature did not gain much traction.
Samsung’s acquisition of the Silicon Valley firm was seen as its taking another step to seek independence from Google, which offers its brand of virtual assistant service in Android-powered devices.
Executives at Samsung and Viv Labs said that the biggest difference between the existing digital assistant and the one they are jointly developing is that the latter will be an “open AI platform,” meaning that third-party developers will be able to offer their services through Samsung’s AI platform.