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iPhone Is Focus Of Trade-In, Protection Plans

Minneapolis – Target is
accepting trade-ins of working iPhone 3G or 3G S models now through Saturday,
Feb. 12.

The program, offered
through the chain’s RadioShack-operated Target Mobile centers, will provide up
to a $200 credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone 4 through AT&T
with a two-year contract.

“Target is always looking
for new ways to surprise our guests and offer the best prices on the products
we know they want,” said Target merchandising VP Nik Nayar. “iPhones are one of
the hottest products on the market today, and our guests can now get their
hands on one at a significantly reduced price.”

Trade-in credits range
from $100 for a 16GB iPhone 3G up to a $200 credit for a 32GB iPhone 3G S. The
iPhone 4 is priced at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB version.

Like RadioShack, Target’s
Mobile centers also accept other pre-owned CE products in exchange for store
credit, including video games and mobile devices. Target currently
maintains Mobile centers in 846 of its stores nationwide and plans to extend
them to all 1,450 stores by June.

Meanwhile, online
service-plan provider SquareTrade has extended its iPhone 4 warranty program to
the new CDMA model for Verizon. The two-year plan repairs or replaces  iPhones that are damaged by drops, spills or
other common accidents for $99 plus a $50 deductible, and also covers all
normal mechanical and electrical failures without a deductible.

“Our research shows that
one in three iPhones will fail over two years, mostly from accidents,” noted
SquareTrade CEO Steve Abernethy. “Our iPhone warranty gives users an affordable
way to protect themselves from the cost of repair and replacement.”

The service plan is
available directly from


website or can be downloaded as an app from iTunes.

The company released a
study on smartphone failure rates last November based on 50,000 owner reports that
projected a 16 percent failure rate for iPhone 4 within the first year of
ownership, mostly due to accidental damage.

Separately, Best Buy
introduced its CE buy-back program during yesterday’s Super Bowl in a 15-second
spot featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber. Under the plan, customers can
“future-proof” their purchases by buying “buy-back protection” that will allow
them to sell the products back to Best Buy at a later date in exchange for
store credit. Five categories are covered, including laptops, netbooks,
tablets, TVs, and post-paid mobile phones, ostensibly including iPhone 4.
Redeemers receive from 10 percent to 50 percent of the purchase price based on the
age of the product, which must returned in “good, working condition.” Pricing for
the coverage varies by category, with laptop, netbook and tablet plans selling
for $70, for example.

As part of the launch,
Best Buy is offering the program free this week through Feb. 12.

NEW Customer Service Companies has also launched a buyback
program that lets consumers return their CE products for a percentage of the
purchase price. Eligible products under NEW’s plan include MP3 players,
tablets, laptops, netbooks, GPS devices, digital cameras and gaming hardware.