Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners keep using their fire-prone phones

(NBC News/Alex Johnson) — Safety agencies and technology experts around the world have pleaded with owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone to stop using them because their batteries can catch fire — but they refuse to listen.

Five days after the Consumer Product Safety Commission told U.S. users to stop using them, the federal agency announced a recall of 1 million Note 7s on Thursday, saying owners "should immediately ... power down" the model.

Samsung itself announced an international recall Sept. 2 and on Saturday told users not to use the phones at all.

But data compiled by the mobile analytics firm Apteligent indicates the message isn't getting through. About 87 percent of Note 7s were still actively being used as late as Wednesday.

That was 12 days after Samsung announced its recall. And it was:

  • Six days after some airlines started banning their use on board flights.
  • Five days after the Federal Aviation Administration "strongly advised" flyers to keep them powered off aboard U.S. flights.
  • Four days after Samsung itself put out an extraordinary plea for everyone to shut them off immediately.
  • And one day after Samsung said it would force a special software update on some Note 7s so their batteries can't be charged past 60 percent.
  • "It appears that the usage rate of the phone among existing users has been almost the exact same since the day of the [initial] recall," Apteligent said in an analysis of its data.

The Note 7, Samsung's flagship device for 2016 and the latest in its long line of intended iPhone killers, was launched Aug. 19. Within a matter of days, it grew to represent about 0.25 percent of all smartphones being used worldwide.

On Aug. 31, Samsung announced that it was halting shipments of the $850 phone to conduct more tests for "product quality." Sales and use of Note 7s kept growing, however, according to Apteligent, which measures smartphone usage day by day by monitoring mobile apps when they're opened on individual phones and ping the internet.

Two days later, on Sept. 2, the Note 7 hit a new high of 0.30 percent of worldwide smartphone use. But then, Samsung recalled 2.5 million of the phones as reports grew that some of their batteries caught fire while being charged.

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Copyright 2016 NBC News


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