Samsung has brought back to life its problematic Galaxy Note 7 handset, with a revised edition that went on sale in South Korea on Friday.
While the original model had battery problems that caused the device to catch fire at times, prompting a worldwide recall, the revised model has a smaller power cell and a lighter price. The battery has been reduced 9% to 3,200 mAh and the price dropped 30% to about 700,000 won, or $610.
Dubbed the Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition, or FE, the device could bolster sales somewhat while Samsung fans wait for the fully-upgraded next generation Note 8, expected in September just in time to compete with Apple’s (AAPL) line up of revamped iPhones. But the Note 7 FE won’t be offered in the United States, a Samsung spokeswoman said.
Investigations by the company and independent organizations found that the batteries were the sole cause of the Note 7 fires, Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin told reporters in January.
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Samsung and wireless carriers asked Note 7 owners to turn in their phones last September, after reports of dozens of fires, and most customers did. In December, Samsung said it had collected 93% of all U.S. Note 7 phones. To get the remainder out of service, Samsung and carriers like Verizon agreed to distribute a killer software update that was supposed to stop the phones from connecting to wireless networks or recharging.
But the Note 7, which had some unusual design features, continued to draw adherents. Thousands of Verizon (VZ) customers refused to turn their phones in after the recall, and others tried to develop software to block the upgrade that disabled the devices.