The idea of offering a test drive of a smartphone isn’t new. But in offering the chance to do so for a month in an attempt to convince iPhone-owners to switch to its latest handset, Samsung is certainly taking the concept to the next level.
The promotion, a US-only affair for now, gives iPhone owners looking to break out of Apple’s walled garden 30 days in which try the new Galaxy S6 Edge Plus or Galaxy Note 5.
That includes an active SIM and a data allowance, meaning there’s no fee.
It’s a bold move by Samsung and shows just how desperate they are to break the cycle of their phones getting critical adoration, only for them to fall flat on the high street.
Quite simply, the Korean giant has had a shocking two years when it comes to smartphones.
Its sales are down, as are profits and the miscalculation of demand for spring’s Galaxy S6 Edge has left it red–faced and out of pocket.
Will this promotion lead to mass switching? That seems highly unlikely.
But Samsung needs to do something to get the word about its new phones out there, grabbing headlines before Apple takes them with the launch of its iPhone 6S in less than a month’s time.
Samsung is not helped by the fact that the new Galaxy S6 Edge+ is also crazily expensive.
With deals starting at £46.99 a month, with a fee of £119.99 up front, users are bound to think twice.
SIM only prices of more than £800 for the 64GB edition of the phone won’t help matters. Neither will the fact that the smaller Galaxy S6 Edge is now free on contract.
All of which means that Samsung really is in a bind.
Promote its new handset? Or push its older one in order to maximise numbers even if it means fewer profits?
There are no simple answers. Samsung has likely backed the wrong horse and should have really been promoting the regular S6 Edge a lot harder, pouring energies into getting that phone out there when supply was really struggling to keep up.
As it is, Samsung is now selling a costly new phone just when its key rival is about to strike.
It may be taking its patent fight with Apple to the US Supreme Court. But even if it wins there it’ll be a pyrrhic victory.
No promotion can hide the fact that Samsung has lost the battle for smartphone supremacy.