Reuters: Samsung to sell refurbished high-end phones

A scheme could launch 'as early as next year.'

Samsung is preparing an official refurbished phone program, according to Reuters, which could launch "as early as next year." The scheme would offer premium handsets -- think the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note line -- at a discount for customers that can't afford them at full price. Most of the phones would be sourced from its one-year upgrade program, available in places like the US and South Korea, which gives super-fans an easier way to trade-in and acquire the latest handsets. It's not clear, however, how much the new discounts will come to, or where the scheme will be offered.

A used phone program would give Samsung an additional revenue stream and maximize its returns on each individual handset. After all, the company would be selling the phone twice -- once as new, the second as used -- with presumably minimal repair costs. Since the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung has stumbled on a design philosophy that far outstrips its previous efforts. (Remember the band-aid Galaxy S5?) The superior hardware, coupled with a slightly more hands-off approach to Android skinning, has culminated in some extremely desirable smartphones. But they're expensive -- the Galaxy Note 7 starts at around $850 in the US.

While Samsung has a ton of devices that hit cheaper price-points, it's the Galaxy S7 and Note 7 -- and their most immediate predecessors -- that can best compete with the competition from Huawei, Xiaomi and OnePlus. Refurbished phone sales could cannibalize Samsung's own mid-range offerings, but they would also shore up its stake in the overall smartphone market. And for the consumer, it would be just another option when buying a new handset. A win-win for everyone but Samsung's competition -- especially HTC, which is already struggling to sell its best phones.