SEOUL, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Samsung announced a halt to production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone Tuesday, and issued an alert to customers to turn their phones off immediately.
It is a $10 billion problem for the prominent South Korean electronics company. After the Galaxy Note 7 went on sale in August, reports of cellphones spontaneously catching fire prompted corporate apologies and a recall of the product and replacement of 2.5 million batteries. The battery manufacturer was changed but several customers reported burning cellphones despite the switch; a burning smartphone filled a passenger plane with smoke and delayed a flight, and one customer reported his phone ignited although it was not plugged in.
In a corporate statement Monday, Samsung said production of the device was halted, and asked "all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7."
It added, "Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device."
The smartphone, which retailed in the United States for about $850, received positive feedback from customers and reviewers, but enthusiasm waned as stories of safety problems emerged. As late as Monday, Samsung insisted the phones were safe to use, but production ended Tuesday.
Samsung stock fell eight percent on Seoul markets Monday, and another five percent Tuesday.