Experts have estimated that Samsung could lose $1 billion (£749 million) over its exploding smartphones.

The Korean giant has halted sales of the flagship Galaxy Note 7 and issued a global recall after several of the handsets caught fire either during or after charging.

It had already sold 2.5 million of the devices, which would cost it $1bn in recalls according to news agency Bloomberg, which surveyed estimates from Credit Suisse, Daishin Securities, and Pelham Smithers Associates.

Samsung smartphone boss Koh Dong Jin said the cost was a "heartbreaking amount", according to Bloomberg.

One million of the Galaxy Note 7s have been sold in the United States since its August 19 release date. Last week it was revealed that 35 of the phones in the US had been set alight by faulty batteries.

Full refunds or replacements – within the coming weeks – have been offered voluntarily by Samsung.

It is a colossal own-goal for the leading Android smartphone manufacturer, with Apple set to unveil its iPhone 7 on Wednesday (7th September).

GADGET GAVIN: Apple Watch gathering dust - for now

However Apple has its own problems: it may have to pay up to $13 billion (£11bn) in back taxes to the Irish government following a recent European Commission ruling. 

One Samsung customer, identified on YouTube as Ariel Gonzalez, posted a video of what he alleges to be a ruined Galaxy Note 7 which "caught fire" shortly after he unplugged the official Samsung charger.

"I came home after work, put it to charge for a little bit before I had class, went to put it on my waist and it caught fire," he said.