One could think that this article is about the spectacular failure of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The phone itself is great and many folks still want to keep their units despite recalls and warnings from Samsung. However, the still unknown issue with its battery subsystem or the battery itself that causes it to explode caused its downfall and the company still offers no explanations as to why the phones burn up. Literally and figuratively, the Note 7 is a bomb. But enterprising game modder named HitmanNiko turned Samsung’s Note 7 bombs into real bombs.
This was inevitable. People who have a rather extensive sense of humor could easily think of a number of jokes to throw at the Galaxy Note 7 controversy. I for one had a brief Twitter exchange with tech journalist Paul Thurott about the Galaxy Note 7. Just couldn’t resist.
Paul: Diehard Note 7 fans really put the “die hard” in diehard.
Me: I have a Note 7 and I’m not afraid to use it! (You know, implying a gun)
Paul: I hope you’re joking (perhaps implying that I plan to continue to use ‘my Note 7’ despite warnings)
Me: That was a joke, I have another one involving a plane and a few might get offended :)
Explained myself there before anyone gets the wrong impression. I can cook up politically incorrect jokes one of which involves a terrorist/hijacker in an airplane armed with a Galaxy Note 7. It could easily be a sketch on SNL. Well, plenty of others may have thought of the same thing and one in particular thought it would be great if the Note 7 actually became an explosive, offensive weapon. HitmanNiko was talented enough to share it to the world.
Apparently, there were several videos posted on YouTube showing game footage of a modded GTA V. The mod involved skinning sticky bombs to look like Galaxy Note 7s. It’s quite hilarious walking and driving around LA with a large smartphone and using it to blow up stuff and kill people.
The video shows the player walking around and tossing the Note 7 like a grenade and sticking it to targets like C4 explosives. It would be a very expensive weapon if it were real. Since the mod is only a skin, the characters react to the phone as if it were a sticky bomb. Strangely though, there are pictures spreading around the internet showing real and extensive burns allegedly because of exploding phones.
As I’ve written before, Samsung is pretty keen to tone down the negative publicity and materials involving the ill-fated phablet. Anyone wouldn’t want to identify their product with explosives unless that’s what they’re selling. Samsung doesn’t want any more bad publicity so they exercised their DMCA rights to have the videos taken down citing copyright infringement. The DMCA or Digital Millenium Copyright Act is a law deals with copyright infringement. You might have seen it from time to time in your Google searches. It can be used by companies to issue takedown notices to websites that upload their copyrighted media such as images, music and videos.
Many say that the video didn’t violate anything but Samsung still prevailed, sort of. The video is clearly a parody making fun of Samsung’s misfortune and it’s obvious who’s not laughing. Unfortunately, being a killjoy is bad publicity unto itself though some may also think the videos are somewhat offensive.
Copies of the video remain for those who know where and how to look. GTA V players will also surely look for this mod if HitmanNiko offered to share it. Good luck to Samsung taking those down. It might even benefit their PR if they laughed along with the public, promise that they’ll be more stringent with quality control and screen their battery suppliers. There’s a lesson in all this, return the removable batteries or come up with another charging technology.