Even after one recall of its Galaxy Note 7, Samsung's latest phone continues to spontaneously combust and the company has had to permanently cease production of the device. Realizing that a phone strapped to someone's face bursting into flames would be a personal and PR nightmare, Oculus and Samsung have now taken the additional step of disabling support for Gear VR on all Note 7 devices.
When a consumer attempts to download the Oculus app necessary for running Gear VR on a Note 7, the user is provided the following message: "Customer safety is Oculus' top priority. Oculus is removing support for all Note 7 devices on the Oculus platform. Until further notice, Note 7 devices will not be compatible with the Gear VR. For more information regarding the Note 7 please contact Samsung directly."
There have not been any reports of the Note 7 exploding within the Gear VR, but it's certainly a good idea to warn customers of the possibility. At this point, Samsung is scrambling to get the defective Note 7 off the market and out of consumers' hands. There have been five reported cases of fires of the replacement Note 7 in the US, and Samsung's brand may be forever tarnished in some consumers' eyes.
Greg Roh at HMC Investment Securities commented to the BBC, "If it's once, it could be taken as a mistake. But for Samsung, the same thing happened twice with the same model. The reason consumers prefer brands like Samsung and Apple is because of product reliability. So in this case, brand damage is inevitable and it will be costly for Samsung to turn that around again."