5 of the Most Notorious Tech Recalls

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  • In 2oo6, 4.1 million Dell laptop batteries would short circuit and catch fire. The company recalled all of its batteries and offered free replacements.
  • In 2014, 440,000 Nest smoke detectors had to be recalled due to a design flaw. Customers could disarm the device unintentionally.
  • Microsoft 360’s “red ring of death” cost the company 1$ billion. The video game console would cease to function for no reason, but Microsoft offered to repair them for free.
  • The Pill XL speaker bought by Apple contained a portable battery that would overheat.
  • The Intel Corporation’s “smartwatch,” Intel Basis would overheat leaving behind burns and blisters on customers’ wrists.

Technology industries put a lot of money and resources into R&D (Research and Development) of their latest and greatest products. Tech has come a long way, but being at the forefront of leading innovations comes at a steep price. Especially when a recall needs to be issued due to an oversight or neglect in the testing phase.

Just look at Samsung and its $900 million recall of the Galaxy Note 7 (not included in this list). Let’s take a look at the 5 most notorious tech recalls since the disaster of Samsung’s smartphone device.

Dell Batteries

In 2006, 4.1 million of Dell’s laptop batteries had to be recalled due to the propensity to catch on fire. A Dell spokesperson at the time said that “in rare cases, a short circuit could cause the battery to overheat, causing a risk of smoke or fire.”

Deciding to take the “better safe than sorry” route, Dell recalled all of their batteries and offered free replacements to all customers. The move cost the company about 15% of its battery revenue between 2004-2006.

Nest Smoke Detectors

The Nest company is better known for its devices that work alongside your home’s thermostats and security systems. They also have a line of smoke detectors, but the success of this product came to a screeching halt in 2014 when 440,000 of them had to be recalled.

A design flaw was discovered in which owners could unintentionally turn off the smoke alarms leaving everyone in the home susceptible to harm. Nest did remove the product from shelves and deployed a software patch to correct the issue.

Microsoft Xbox 360

In 2001, the developer of the well-known PC operating system got its feet wet in the gaming industry when it launched its first console called the Xbox. Four years later, Microsoft followed up this success with the release of the Xbox 360, but it didn’t go quite as planned.

The Xbox 360 would just shut down and cease to operate when the “red ring of death” was displayed on the front of the console. As a measure of good faith, Microsoft would extend the warranty of all consoles to three years and allow any customer to return it for a free repair. The recall cost the company $1 billion.

Beats Pill XL

Just after Apple purchased the Beats brand for $3 billion in 2014, the Pill XL was recalled. It was discovered that the speaker’s portable battery had an overheating issue that presented the risk of a fire. A refund was issued in the form of a $325 in-store credit or bank transfer payment in lieu of cash.

Intel Basis

The Intel Corporation has been known for years for its central processing units (CPU) for desktop and laptop computers. In 2014, the company decided to pursue a different route of technology by launching its Basis Peak smartwatch.

Unfortunately, its popularity was not gained due to how the device performed, but rather because of what it did to your skin. The device could overheat and leave burns and blisters on your wrist. All watches were recalled immediately and customers’ fitness data could be accessed up until the end of 2016.