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Samsung to iPhone Owners: Try Our Galaxy Phones — for ‘Free!’

·Technology Editor
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Samsung really wants iPhone fans to drop their Apple handsets in favor of Galaxy smartphones.

But how can the company convince Apple loyalists to give its phones a try? By letting those iPhoners use a Samsung handset for a month — for free. Of course, you still have to pay a $1 processing fee. So, I guess it’s practically free.

Samsung’s new Ultimate Test Drive program does just what its name implies: iPhone owners can try out Samsung’s Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, or Galaxy Note5 for 30 days; the $1 fee covers the cost of shipping. Along with the handset, Samsung will throw in a free data plan from the carrier of your choice.

Update: Samsung says that it has already sold out of Ultimate Test Drive kits, but is working to make more available.

“The response to Samsung’s Ultimate Test Drive has been overwhelming and exceeded our expectations,” said a Samsung spokesperson.

“We are excited to see how many people are eager to try something new. In just a few hours, all of the kits earmarked for this program were reserved by customers looking to try our latest and greatest devices. We’re now working quickly on how to make the Ultimate Test Drive available to even more people.”

The offer could be a shrewd one. Samsung is battling Apple for sales, even as the smartphone market slows down, so every convert counts.

At the same time, though, it feels a bit desperate: It sounds like something you’d hear on a late-night infomercial. I’m half expecting the company to throw in a free knife set with each order.

Nonetheless, if all goes according to plan, Samsung will poach a slew of new customers from its biggest competitor — and, knives or no, that should put a smile on some faces at Samsung HQ.

Updated: Samsung sent us a follow-up message late last night, explaining that customers will be charged a $1 processing fee when they sign up for the Test Drive program.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.