Monday, September 26, 2016

I almost bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 7

I almost bought one of those exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones.

A few months ago I dropped my iPhone 6 and cracked the glass along the top edge. It didn't make the phone unusable, but it lost its cool factor significantly. Then I was reading about the upcoming iPhone 7 and how it was mostly an evolutionary design, perhaps not a ton of difference from the iPhone 6s, and not a revolutionary new design. So I asked around to find out what peoples' favorite Android phones were, and everybody seemed to love the Galaxy Note phones. And the Note 7 in particular, had a cool slightly-bigger screen that goes all the way edge-to-edge on the device.

But I couldn't decide if I really wanted to go back to Android. I'm mostly platform agnostic, but it would definitely take some effort to update my music library in a place where Android phones could access it. So I hemmed and hawed for a while and then I decided I'd wait until they announced the new iPhones, and then I would compare and decide.

Then the shit hit the fan with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones. Literally catching on fire due to incorrectly manufactured batteries. After what seemed like a long delay, then there was a recall. "Turn your phones off now!" they warn. And it sounds like perhaps Samsung has bungled the recall -- lots of customers are unsure where to go to get a replacement phone. Or are getting the runaround. Or their mobile provider is out of stock. (And it's not even safe to use this phone in the interim, until you can get that replacement? Ouch.)

This has to be terribly damaging to the Samsung brand, no? I read in some random tech blog that "this will all blow over" and "nobody will remember it in six months." But I'm not so sure about that.

My wife and I were in New Orleans this past weekend. She had a speaking engagement at Tulane, so I tagged along to enjoy a weekend in New Orleans. We now live in a small town with a tiny airport, so there are no direct flights anywhere. That means we rode on four different planes for our round trip. Each time, a flight attendant explicitly named the Samsung Galaxy 7 Note as unsafe, that the FAA has taken the unprecedented step of banning this phone from charging or being used on any flight. One of the flight attendants asked for a show of hands, how many people owned this unsafe phone? Another joked about it. At one airport, the gate agent warned people about the phone before they even boarded.

How would you feel, if you were traveling and had a person or two at every airport tell you that your phone was unsafe, strongly implying it was inferior? I know that if I *had* bought one of those, I would have returned it and bought some other phone from some other manufacturer.

Because, even if I had gotten a replacement Samsung phone, I bet that I would have had to endure "dad jokes" about the phone, for months or years to come. I imagine that perhaps every time I pull out the phone, some comedian would ask me, oh, isn't that the exploding phone? Har har har. Yeah, that was a couple years ago, I'll get tired of explaining.

So, by holding off, I dodged that bullet. Ended up picking up an iPhone 7 plus to replace my two year old iPhone 6 plus. The outward design is very similar, but the fancy new camera appeals to me, and the overall boost in speed appeals to me. And I maxed out the memory so I can load my entire music library for offline listening.

And even if I get tired of the iPhone....would I ever buy a Samsung? After all that's happened, I just don't see myself doing that.

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