Samsung's new subscription bundles a Galaxy S20 with Microsoft 365

It's a smartphone as a service.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 family is expensive when even the ‘entry’ model begins around $1,000. The company thinks it has a solution, though: turn the phone into more of a service. It just launched an Access plan that provides an S20 phone, a Premium Care warranty, Microsoft 365 and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage for a monthly fee. Prices range from $37 per month for the base S20 through to $48 for the S20 Ultra. You can upgrade or cancel at any time, although you’ll pay $100 if you either get a new phone in less than nine months or cancel in less than three months.

The device payments will last for three years if you don’t upgrade, although Samsung is clearly hoping you’ll use this to keep getting its latest phones. Trade-ins don’t count, so keep that in mind if you think you could get a better overall deal by selling your old phone.

Monthly payments by themselves aren’t new, of course. Many carriers distribute phone payments over the course of two-plus years, and Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program gets you the latest handset every year if you’re willing to keep paying. Samsung, like others, is trying to soften the blow of buying a phone. The Microsoft tie-in is unique, though, and suggests that Samsung is using Access to treat its phones more like services than one-time purchases. That’s not surprising — Apple and others have pivoted toward services in part because they offer a steady, predictable money stream instead of the usual hardware sales roller coaster.

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