Seeking to even further boost its soaring share of the smartphone market, electronics giant Samsung is offering a cash rebate for older phones to those who upgrade to one of Samsung's top-selling devices.
The rebate applies to purchases of the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note.
'A Check In the Mail'
"Upgrading is easy," says Samsung on Facebook as well as on samsungupgrade.com. "You'll get a quote, purchase a new Samsung smartphone, and mail in your old phone within 30 days. Then you'll get a check mailed to you for your refund. If you've already purchased a new Samsung smartphone, have the proof of purchase handy."
You can find out how much you'd get for your phone by entering data on the Web site. The maximum rebate is $300, but of the models we entered, only Apple's most expensive iPhone, the 4S with 64 gigabytes of storage, garnered that quote. A 4S with 16 GB was $210.
Other models were valued far less (all prices assuming the phone is undamaged.) An LG Ally would get you just $10, as would a Nokia 5530 Xpress Music. The Motorola Droid X2 was valued at $10, but when we clicked the button asking if we intended to use the new phone for work, that changed to $45.
A Samsung Continuum was valued at $210. The company isn't guaranteeing any quote, however, until you actually make the trade-in. "Trade-in refunds are subject to change until the order is submitted," reads the small print.
Since the Galaxy S II and S III sell for $199 (for the 16 GB model) and the Galaxy Note for $249 with a two-year contract, the rebate won't cut the cost much for non-iPhone customers. But hey, every bit helps.
Samsung, now the top mobile phone maker in the world, is getting busy with promotions to solidify its lead.
Back in November, as a pre-holiday promotion the company offered a free LTE Galaxy S II Skyrocket, or the Galaxy S II, with the purchase of one of its Galaxy Tab 8.9-inch tablets and two-year contracts for both devices.
Verizon Wireless has also offered rebates for turning in old phones when upgrading.
Feeding the Gray Market
Recently made, fully functional phones can be sold at a profit by third-party companies to customers in emerging markets.
"I think this is just a secondary company who is looking for phones they can sell in other countries in the gray market for more than what [they] paid," said analyst Ken Dulaney of Gartner . "This probably works for any manufacturer if you call directly."
But another Gartner analyst, Michael Gartenberg, said the offer may nudge customers to take a closer look at Samsung's new stars.
"In a world where many consumers may see their current devices as 'good enough,' this is an effort for them to recoup some of that value and get them to a new device," he said.