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Samsung is considering flipping refurbished Galaxy Note 7 models with smaller batteries in select emerging markets, according to The Korea Economic Daily, which cites “unnamed Samsung sources” in its article.
Samsung lost an estimated $5 billion late last year when its flagship phablet– initially well-received– was revealed to have a fatal battery defect that forced the company to recall millions of units worldwide and discontinue the line. In all, some 4.7 million units were produced and approximately 98% of them have been recovered by Samsung. The rumored plan to sell refurbished models may be an effort to recoup some of those losses and get rid of the massive pile of slightly-used phablets the South Korean company is currently sitting on.
A separate article from Hankyung also suggests that Samsung will move to sell refurbished phones, which may feature 3,000 mAh or 3,200 mAh batteries in place of the original 3,500 mAh battery, as well as a potentially smaller frame. The original batteries would obviously still need to be disposed of.
The reports coming from Korea don’t mention pricing but do state that Samsung would relaunch the Galaxy Note 7 around June if it were to proceed down this route.
Whether or not Samsung decides to follow through with this plan, much more hinges on the performance of its forthcoming flagship Galaxy Note 8. In any case, the scandal-plagued tech giant has a long and arduous struggle ahead of it this year: it must compete with Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8 (or possibly iPhone ‘X’) while repairing the grievous damage to its brand reputation inflicted by 2016’s Note 7 debacle. According to the latest Harris Reputation polls, Samsung’s standing plummeted from #3 in 2015 to #49 in 2016.
Recent news that the company’s heir apparent, Lee Jae-yong, has been arrested on bribery charges likely hasn’t helped its public image either,