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Reuters: Samsung to sell refurbished high-end phones

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

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