Samsung is preparing to launch a new program selling refurbished, used versions of its high-end smartphones, reports Reuters. According to an anonymous source "with direct knowledge of the matter," the program will use handsets returned to Samsung as part of its upgrade programs in markets like the US and South Korea. The phones would then be sold on to consumers at a lower price, says Reuters, but there's no word on how big the discount would be, or which countries the program will be available in.
The idea of getting a refurbished premium handset directly from Samsung should be attractive to many consumers, especially considering the plaudits the company has won in recent years for its design work. Devices like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7 have been praised by reviewers for their look and feel, but their prices — around $800 — will put off many.
Helping sustain Samsung's mobile turnaround
According to Reuters, Samsung is hoping the resale program will help sustain its mobile business, which, after a long period of struggle, posted its best profits for two years in the most recent financial quarter. The smartphone maker also reportedly wants to maximum the cost efficiency of its products (what's more efficient than making something once and selling it twice) as well as keep its operating margins "above 10 percent." In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the company told The Verge: "Samsung does not comment on rumor or speculation."
Reuters suggests that reselling its premium handsets at a lower price could help Samsung in growing markets like India, expected to be one of the few engines of growth in global smartphone sales. However, with the average mobile phone in India selling for $70, even heavily discounted Galaxy devices will be too expensive for many of the country's consumers. More likely, the refurbished handsets would have a greater effect in markets like China, where Samsung has been undercut by rivals offering high-end specs for less. And if the program also hits the US and other Western markets, there are bound to be people there who also want to get their hands on devices like the Note 7 for less.