At a shareholders meeting in Seoul, DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung, said the company is mulling over the possibility of not launching an update to the Galaxy Note range this year, something which has been done annually ever since the first Galaxy Note was launched in October 2011. The reasoning behind this train of thought would be the challenge of releasing yet another high-end device or flagship model in the second half of the year, something that Samsung has found easy to do in previous years before the pandemic hit.
- Samsung mulls over not launching a new Galaxy Note in 2021;
- Galaxy Z range could take over from it;
- CEO did not rule out the return of the Galaxy note range in 2022
This statement does not come as a surprise, since Samsung had previously dropped some hints that they could even cancel the line of the Galaxy Note phablets. Earlier this year, the company took away one of the few exclusive features of the line - compatibility with the S-Pen accessory - by introducing pen support in the flagship Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Another model tipped to be compatible with the S-Pen is the new version of the smartphone with a foldable screen: the Galaxy Z Fold. The Galaxy Z Fold is tipped for a debut in the second half of 2021. Rumors are rife that the Galaxy Z Fold will double up in terms of offering smartphone functionality and being a high-powered productivity tool, something that has been served by the Galaxy Note range all these years.
RIP: Galaxy Note 21?
"The Note line positions itself as a top-of-the-line model in our business portfolio, and it may be challenging to launch two flagship models in the second half of the year. The launch timing of the Note model may change, but we are looking to launch a new Note model next year," Koh said during the event.
The "challenge of launching two flagships" didn't stop Samsung from doing just that in 2019 and 2020, years in which it launched the annual Galaxy Note lineup update with a little (or no) time gap from the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 2 models, respectively.
At the same event, Koh also addressed shareholders the current situation involving processor shortage - which has affected not only smartphone manufacturers, but also CPUs, graphics cards, video games, and even automobiles. This could be a handy explanation for the South Korean firm to prioritize the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Despite the increasing emphasis on the Fold line and some decisions made surrounding the vanilla Galaxy Note 20 model - a plastic back and a 60Hz display, which already addressed by my colleague Antoine in his review - all stack up to provide a very grim future for this phablet range.
Looking back at 2020, the president of Samsung Electronics' Mobile Communications division, TM Roh, already published that the company was working to add "the most beloved features of the Note line" to other company smartphones, which began with the Galaxy S21's support for the S-Pen accessory.
The Note family made its mark not only as a productivity tool - thanks to the inclusion of the S-Pen - but also stood out in Samsung's then product range for its use of larger displays as opposed to those found in the then flagship Galaxy S range, highlighting the potential for multitasking. With the trend of increasingly larger screens on smartphones, which was spearheaded by Samsung itself, a major difference in screen size is a moot point today. For reference, the Galaxy S21 Ultra uses a 6.8-inch display, versus the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra's 6.9-inch display.
What's next? Is this the end of the Galaxy Note line? Do you think the Galaxy Z Fold family can replace the device in Samsung's lineup, or does it still occupy a niche market with its hugely prohibitive price tag? Share your opinion with the NextPit community in the comments.