Samsung’s next top-shelf smartphone, the forthcoming Galaxy S8, has a lot to live up to. Following two Galaxy Note 7 recalls and the news of its discontinuation, the S8 needs to be nothing short of the best phone ever built to make up for lost sales and lost faith in the brand.
And of all the people who need convincing, even cajoling, perhaps it’s the previous Note 7 owners who require every ounce of persuasion to coax them back into a Samsung store. Or maybe not.
In an online statement on Monday, Samsung announced a new upgrade program for Note 7 owners in Korea where they could exchange their phone — replacement or otherwise — for the Galaxy S8 or Note 8 next year. Reuters said the press release issued in Korean had told “customers who trade in their Note 7 phone for either a flat-screen or curved-screen version of the Galaxy S7 can trade up for a Galaxy S8 or Note 8.”
Reuters also reported that Korean customers would only have to pay half the price of a Galaxy S7 to get their hands on the S8 or Note 8 instead of paying the full price. It remains unclear how the program would work for those who have already traded their Note 7 in and for those who got their unit from a wireless carrier.
It’s also worth noting that Samsung’s plans are limited to Korea for the time being. When we asked a Samsung executive about it, he told us that “it’s initially a Korea-only program,” and that the company is still discussing internally whether to roll it out further.
In any case, the statement confirms the existence of another Note device due for release in 2017, contrary to some reports that claimed Samsung would drop the Note branding altogether after the Note 7’s brief but disastrous shelf-life.
Analysts already estimate the cost of the Note 7 disaster at somewhere north of $5 billion. It might cost a lot more in the long term if Samsung settles the class-action lawsuits from customers in South Korea and the United States.