The promotion, dubbed the Ultimate Test Drive, allowed iPhone users to sign up via their phones to use a Galaxy S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, or Note 5 for 30 days, and pay just $1. The phones would then be shipped ready to go on a carrier of choice, with Samsung hoping to convince iPhone owners that they've somehow overlooked Samsung's smartphone superiority all this time.
Good luck with that.
What's more likely to happen is that the vast majority of trial users will realize they made the right choice buying into Apple's ecosystem, while Samsung gathers a bit of information on how to win over new customers the next time around.
Scouting the competition
Samsung isn't stupid. This mobile behemoth didn't become the largest smartphone maker on the planet by selling bad phones to people who don't know better. Nor does the company overlook the fact that its latest line of Galaxy phones are failing to win over buyers in the high-end market.
For example, the latest Gartner data shows that Samsung's smartphone unit sales fell by 5.3% in Q2 2015, while Apple's increased by 36%. Anshul Gupta, a research director at Garner, said that, "Despite the launch of new S6 models, Samsung's premium phones continued to be challenged by Apple's large-screen iPhones."
Samsung knows spec-for-spec how its phones stack up to the latest iPhones, but what it doesn't exactly know is why people are choosing an iPhone over its devices.
Enter the Ultimate Test Drive. As ZDNET found when digging through the terms and conditions of Samsung's promotion, the South Korean based company requires iPhone users to fill out a survey both before they receive the test Galaxy device and afterwards. Any and all information Samsung can glean from these surveys could then be used in developing future phones that, Samsung's hoping, will actually convince iPhone users to purchase.
As of right now, there aren't any more test drive devices available from Samsung -- though that may change -- so it appears the program is off to a good start.
But the bigger picture for Samsung isn't that iPhone users are trying the devices, or that it can convince some of them to switch right now, but instead that Samsung can figure out how to make phones that people will want one or two years from now.
Samsung's in big trouble
The lack of demand for Samsung's high-end devices stung the company's earnings in the second quarter, with revenue falling 8.4% year-over-year and overall profits falling for the seventh consecutive quarter.
To help stop the bleeding Samsung recently announced it will drop the price of the S6 and S6 Edge. The company said in a recent press release that, "While the IT & Mobile Communications (IM) Division is expected to face a difficult business environment, the sales momentum for high-end products will be maintained by adjusting the price of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge and introducing new premium smartphone models."
But Samsung's longer term strategy needs to be figuring out why people don't want the phones to begin with. A few surveys from diehard iPhone users won't likely turn Samsung's prospects around at this point, but it's a start. While Samsung is boosting its semiconductor business, the company still relies heavily on its mobile division revenues -- which means it can't afford to stop churning out winning smartphones just yet.
Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Gartner. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.