It's already happened in Australia, and now in the US as of Thursday, all major US cellular carriers have announced plans to remote-brick fire-catching Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones. Verizon, the final holdout will issue an over-the-air software update on January 5 that will prevent the devices from both charging and connecting to cellular networks.
As it happens, the crippling software update won't affect many users. Samsung issued a voluntary recall, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission issued a recall of its own in September. Since then, reports show that that 85 percent of users have already turned their devices back in for either another model or a refund.
Holdouts, however, may have a tough time traveling over the holidays if they wait for the software update to hit their handsets. The FAA banned the phones from all flights in October.
We're sure somebody is hoarding their Note7, somewhere, perhaps in the mistaken belief that a fix will one day appear (it won't), or that the phone will somehow become a valuable collector's item in the years ahead. That's somewhat more plausible. People collect thimbles and bus tickets, so why not a bricked phablet from 2016?
But to those collectors we offer this special tip: maybe run down to your local RC hobby store and buy a fireproof bag, the kind they use to charge their high-current Li-Ion batteires in. Because you never know...