Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fire faulty battery safety recall
A model poses for photographs with a Galaxy Note 7 new smartphone during its launching ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, August 11, 2016. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Rumours over a worldwide safety recall of Samsung’s flagship device, the Galaxy Note 7, are spreading like wildfire after the South Korean tech firm postponed global shipments following reports that faulty battery causes the latest Android smartphone to explode or catch fire while charging.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd said it is conducting a thorough inspection of Galaxy Note 7 devices after five new phones reportedly caught fire in South Korea. The cause of the supposed fire risk is not yet known but faulty batteries is a possible culprit as well as faulty third-party chargers.

Samsung has reportedly sold over 400,000 smart phones in South Korea last month while at least 50,000 units have been sold in Australia since Aug. 19. Shipments to Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have been delayed.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 launch in Australia

An unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 7 retails at $1,349 apiece in Australia while major telecom companies are selling the new iris-scanning Android smartphone through 24-month post-paid plans priced between $30 to $195 per month. (Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 price in Australia: How much phone plans cost)

During the Aug. 11 launch in Seoul, Samsung Electronics’ president Koh Dong-jin revealed the company’s plan to sell Galaxy Note 7 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage in China and Hong Kong to elevate the phone at par with the latest Chinese-made higher-capacity mobile phones. (Read: Samsung to release Galaxy Note 7 with 128gb built-in memory, 6gb RAM only in China)

The first smartphone with iris-scanning capability, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is built on a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display and features a 3500mAh battery, a S Pen stylus, a 12-megapixel f/1.7 dual pixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera.

The water-resistant handset also uses scratch- and shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass 5 and runs on 6.0.1 Marshmallow version of Android. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 comes in four colour variants – Dark Onyx Black, Chrome Titanium Silver, Shiny Gold Platinum and Blue Coral.

Following reports of exploding phones and delayed shipments, Samsung’s market value already shed US$7 billion (AU$9.27 billion) in the past week.