Samsung produced and shipped several million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year… and then issued a recall for all those phones following reports of some handsets catching fire.
Now the company is starting to talk about what it plans to do with all those phones. One possible option? Refurbish the phones and sell them under a different name.
Korean media first reported last month that Samsung was considering selling refurbished Note 7 phones, and activists from Greenpeace interrupted Samsung’s Mobile World Congress press event a few days later, demanding to know how Samsung would deal with the recalled phones in a way that would minimize environmental harm.
Now we have an idea.
Since Samsung is reasonably confident it’s figured out why the phones were bursting into flames, it should be possible to safely outfit the phones with new batteries that are less fire-prone. Then the phones could be sold to consumers.
That’s kind of good news, since the Galaxy Note 7 received pretty strong reviews before the trouble started. It has a speedy processor, a good screen, and other features that help it stand out, even half a year after launch.
But with the new Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones set to launch, and a Galaxy Note 8 likely coming later in the year, Samsung will likely have to price the refurbished phones competitively to make them attractive.
It’s unclear where the phones would be sold: Samsung says everything is “dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand.”
The company says it could also recycle and reuse components from the phones by detaching parts that are still useful and using them for other products and extracting metals for recycling purposes.