Carriers have any number of reasons for why they begin and end sales of smartphones when they do. New phones may arrive due to freshly inked deals with manufacturers, and vanish to make room for new models. So when word arrived yesterday that T-Mobile was halting sales of last fall’s ZTE Zmax phablet, you might not have batted an eye at the news. But as more of this story comes to light, the Zmax’s disappearance from T-Mobile’s lineup is anything but ordinary, and there may be a very unusual reason why the carrier is putting a stop to sales.
A leaked memo informed T-Mobile retail stores to suspend Zmax sales, but stopped short of saying the phone was going away for good. Instead, it directed employees to take all stock off the showroom floor and move it back into storage until further notice.
Why the sudden action? This isn’t official, but word is that this whole mess is happening to stem the misguided efforts of Zmax owners trying to replace the phone’s ostensibly non-removable battery.
As it is now, the rear shell of the Zmax can be wedged off with a bit of force, and supposed the manufacturer and T-Mobile are worried that overly ambitious owners may end up damaging the battery in the process, potentially causing fires or otherwise harming themselves.
It’s not clear right now if there’s going to be some effort to reinforce the Zmax’s construction, followed by a reintroduction to T-Mobile shelves, but that may be one option. Maybe a sticker with a stern warning would suffice.