Samsung says new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones will be available in U.S. stores starting Wednesday to replace about 1 million devices that are being recalled because of a problem with batteries catching fire.
Samsung also said in a statement Tuesday that it has shipped 500,000 Note 7 replacement units to the US. Last week, the company said most retailers will have functioning Note 7 replacement units by September 21.
Samsung is recalling all Note 7 phones sold on or before September 15. You can exchange it for a Galaxy S7, a new Note 7 without the battery issue, or a full refund.
The South Korean company has been scrambling to fix problems caused by faulty batteries in the latest version of its top-of-the-line smartphone, which first went on sale last month.
The software update will display a green battery icon at the top of the Note 7's screen if you're using a model with a stable battery.
Users who have a Note 7 that still needs to be returned will see a warning message telling them to power the device down and take it back to the store. The warning will show up every time users turn on their device.
Samsung is coordinating the recall with U.S. safety officials, who say the batteries in 92 devices overheated or caught fire since the Note 7 went on sale last month.
When it first offered on Sept. 2 to replace the affected Note 7 phones, Samsung said it would swap them for models of its other phones, such as the Galaxy S7, until supplies of replacement Note 7 devices became available.
Samsung followed up last week by announcing that U.S. consumers who had purchased one of the recalled phones could choose between a replacement or a refund for the device, which sells for about $850. That offer was jointly announced with officials at the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission after Samsung was criticized for not coordinating more closely with the commission.
Safety officials have urged Note 7 owners to turn off their phones and return them immediately. They cited reports of Note 7 batteries overheating in the United States, including 26 instances where individuals were burned and 55 that caused property damage.
The problem doesn’t affect all Note 7 phones, because Samsung uses batteries from different suppliers. But the company has said about 2.5 million devices may be affected worldwide, including 1 million sold in the United States.
About a quarter of affected phones had been exchanged in the United States by Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary.
She was unable to say how many Note 7 buyers sought refunds, but said “the vast majority” received a different Samsung phone as a replacement.