Following the initial rumors that came through late last year, it does seem to be the case that Samsung plans on selling refurbished Galaxy Note 7s. Now, images have come through from SamsungVN which are said to be of a refurbished Galaxy Note 7. From the pictures, we are looking at a model number of SM-N935, a smaller battery, running Android 7.0 (Nougat), and what is said to be a ‘Galaxy Note 7R’ name – most likely for refurbished. The original battery in the Note 7 was 3,500 mAh and the refurbished version seems to be running a 3,200 mAh battery. This maybe Samsung’s inversion to the 3,500 mAh battery or possibly it was just too big to fit properly in the device. The pictures also show a new ROM version number and rumors have it only be sold in India and Vietnam, although no pricing was announced.
In March, Samsung made an official announcement that confirmed they would be reselling and/or renting refurbished Galaxy Note 7s. The units that are selected for this process will be ones that look brand new and meet certain quality assurances. Samsung had previously ruled out India as a possible destination of the refurbished devices but then said it would decide based on local demand. We know for sure that none of the refurbished units will be sent to the US for sale – Samsung does not want anything to interfere with the launch of their new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, not to mention the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 in the fall. The Galaxy Note 7 was very popular in the US and after two recalls, it seems Samsung would rather keep it out of the US picture.
When Samsung undertook its final recall, it had a significant number of almost new Galaxy Note 7s to get rid of, and this is not the kind of thing you can put out for your local trash pickup. There are toxic chemicals in the batteries and even in the circuit boards. Care and great expense must be doled out to dispose of them properly. The Note 7 debacle had already cost Samsung a lot of cash in lost sales and the recall effort and spending more money to properly dispose of the components was probably not something that greatly appealed to Samsung. However, by refurbishing the devices with a good battery and updated software and putting them up for resale in emerging markets could save them a lot of money and help keep landfills a little more empty.