The public relations disaster even inspired Halloween costumes of exploded phones last year. But Samsung took the high road Wednesday morning when it unveiled the new version of the phone, the Note 8, at an event in New York.
"None of us will ever forget what happened last year -- I know I want to," Samsung CEO DJ Koh said.
The company's strategy to put its Note 7 headache in the past seems to be emphasizing its loyal base of Note 8 users that are giving them a second chance. Koh said Samsung is grateful for the Note 8 community of multitaskers and power users. "Millions of loyalists stayed with us and their passion has been a constant inspiration," Koh claimed.
Samsung then played a video for the audience at the unveiling event in New York that said "Even when we disappointed you, you stuck with us. So thank you for believing in us. And inspiring us to be better." The video was accompanied by video clips of disappointed Note 7 users who said they were wiling to give Samsung another chance. In addition, the gift bag for attendees included a notecard that read, "Thank you for inspiring us to do bigger things."
Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson said he was surprised at how candid Samsung was about the Note 7 disaster that led to Samsung's largest ever recall. The recall cost $5 billion total, despite the company claiming that just 330 of the 3 million Note 7 devices it sold had battery issues. "I was a bit surprised at the acknowledgement. What really struck me was how they focused on and emphasized the loyal Note 8 users," he said.
In January, Samsung announced new safety measures for its phones, including an 8-step battery safety check. The Note 7 batteries were fit too snuggly in the phone last year causing safety issues. Some observers speculated that safety testing was rushed to get the phone out in early August ahead of Apple's (AAPL) - Get Report iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch on September 16. But the Note 8 shouldn't have issues due to a smaller battery size and more spacing around it.
Samsung loyalists will be able to pick up the phone on September 15, although preorders will start in the next couple of days. The phone will retail in the mid-$900s depending on your carrier.
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