Samsung Revives Galaxy Note 7 With New 'Fandom Edition'

By Eun-Young Jeong and Timothy W. Martin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Samsung Electronics Co. is quietly rejuvenating its tarnished Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

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A refurbished version of the premium smartphone, whose global recall last year garnered unwanted attention for the South Korean technology giant after some caught fire, is coming to retailers' shelves on July 7 with different components under the name Galaxy Note 7 FE, according to people familiar with the matter.

The FE stands for "Fandom Edition," one of the people said.

The device will initially be available for consumers in South Korea, with relatively modest inventory for release in other countries yet to be announced, one of the people said, adding that Samsung is expected to release at most 400,000 devices among three major telecom companies in South Korea.

The refurbished Note 7 will be priced below 700,000 South Korean won ($616), although smartphone prices are generally adjusted up to the point of release due to fluctuating market conditions, the person said.

A spokeswoman for Samsung declined to comment. Samsung said in late March that it planned to sell refurbished or rental versions of the Galaxy Note 7 but didn't specify timing or targeted markets.

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Details about the Galaxy Note FE's release date and pricing were earlier reported by South Korea's semiofficial Yonhap News agency and local trade media.

Samsung recalled around three million Galaxy Note 7 devices last year after reports of some devices catching fire--a debacle that cost the company at least $5 billion and saw the devices banned on various airlines.

The South Korean company concluded earlier this year that the overheating in some devices came from design and manufacturing problems with the devices' batteries. According to Samsung, the defect affected 330 out of the three million Note 7 phones that it sold.

Analysts say the revived Note 7 wouldn't compete with or cannibalize sales of the Galaxy S8, Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, which was released to much fanfare in April. Unlike the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy Note smartphones feature a larger screen and a stylus, endearing them to a loyal base of fans.

"The Note 7 is a unique product for Samsung," said Tom Kang, a Seoul-based analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research. "This is a product for Note-series fans so it's going to address a different market segment from the S8."

Mr. Kang added that sales of Galaxy Note 5 devices--the Note 7's immediate predecessor, since Samsung skipped the number "6" in its Note series--have remained robust in the absence of a viable follow-up in the Note series.

Samsung ceded the No. 1 spot in the global smartphone market to rival Apple Inc. in the last three months of 2016, thanks in large part to the Galaxy Note 7 recall fiasco.

Samsung regained the title in the first quarter of 2017, according to market-research firm Counterpoint.

Write to Eun-Young Jeong at Eun-Young.Jeong@wsj.com and Timothy W. Martin at timothy.martin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2017 08:12 ET (12:12 GMT)