Samsung to release update that 'kills' Galaxy Note 7 mobiles

Samsung will release an update for their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones that will prevent them from charging and functioning as mobile phones.

The smartphone maker said more than 93% of all recalled devices in the US had been returned as part of its exchange programme.

The electronics giant scrapped the phone in October due to incidents where the phones began smoking or caught fire.

The new update will be released on December 19.

In a statement, Samsung said: "Consumer safety remains our highest priority.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was withdrawn in October due to safety fears. Credit: Reuters

"We've had overwhelming participation in the US Note 7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices returned.

"To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19th and will be distributed within 30 days. This software update will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices."

However Verizon Communications said they would not take part in the update because of the risk posed to customers that do not have another device to switch to.

The US Transportation Department and other agencies have already banned Galaxy Note 7 owners from carrying the devices or stowing them in checked baggage during flights due to safety fears.