Samsung’s recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to the risk of explosion prompted Oculus to disable Gear VR compatibility to ensure the safety of its customers.
Samsung has a mess to clean up, and Oculus doesn’t want to be involved in it. In recent weeks, multiple reports of Note 7 devices exploding and causing fires surfaced. Samsung reacted by exchanging some of the earlier devices, but amidst further reports of exploding Note7s from the newest shipments, Samsung ultimately halted sales and issued a full recall (opens in new tab).
“Samsung is working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note7. While the investigation is taking place, Samsung is asking all carrier and retail partners here and around the globe to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7. Since the affected devices can overheat and pose a safety risk, we are asking consumers with an original Galaxy Note7 or a replacement Galaxy Note7 to power it down and contact the carrier or retail outlet where you purchased your Galaxy Note7. If you bought your Galaxy Note7 from Samsung.com or have questions, you should contact us at 1-844-365-6197 and we can help you. Galaxy Note7 Owners need to do one of the following:Exchange your current Galaxy Note7 for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge and replacement of any Galaxy Note7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices; orContact your point of purchase to obtain a full refund.Customers who exchange a Note7 device will also receive a $25 gift card, in-store credit, in-store accessory credit or bill credit from select carrier retail outlets.”
Samsung said that customers “need” to return their Note 7 devices and exchange them for another model or a full refund. Following the recall announcement, Oculus disabled Gear VR functionality for the Note 7. Oculus didn’t expressly state that it disabled the function for safety reasons rather than liability reasons, but we’d like to think that the company’s motives are more altruistic than self-serving. Either way, preventing harm is the right call for everyone involved.
A blow like this could slow down mobile VR adoption. Oculus and Samsung released an updated Gear VR designed specifically to accommodate the Note 7. With Samsung pulling the Note 7 devices back from customers, we have to image a significant number of new Gear VR kits will end up back in their boxes and collecting dust. Of course, letting your Gear VR collect dust is a better option than risking an explosion inches from your eyes.