While the company wants owners of both original and replacement devices to hand them in for another Samsung phone or refund, last week it took matters a step further by allowing wireless carriers to "brick" every Galaxy Note 7 in the US using a software update that will stop the phones from charging or working as mobile devices.
The "update" is expected to be released by Samsung next Monday on December 19th but will be rolled out by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint on different dates in order to give customers a means of communication over the holidays.
Verizon will release "update" after all
Verizon initially said it would not be taking part in the software update, citing safety concerns while customers are still switching to replacement devices. “We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation,” the company said in a statement. The company then changed its decision on Thursday, but will only release the update after the holiday season.
T-Mobile will be the first to release the software "brick" on December 27th, followed by AT&T and Verizon on January 5th, and Sprint on January 8th. According to this schedule, no one traveling to CES during the first week of January should still be carrying a Galaxy Note 7, as the device is now banned on all US flights and is banned from any air transportation in the country.
Since early November, Samsung had already received 85 percent of its Galaxy Note 7 devices through its voluntary recall program and has now recovered 93 percent of them since last week. Unless the statistics are incorrect, that should leave less than seven percent of devices still out in the wild, though they can only be used for parts, as the batteries will be rendered inoperable, or "bricked", following the software rollout.