Samsung isn’t going to release a new Galaxy Note flagship at their autumn Galaxy Unpacked event for the first time in 10 years. Speculations about Samsung’s decision to ax the Galaxy Note 21 vary. Some say it’s because of the global chip shortage, some say it’s because of the S series that make the Note redundant, and others say it’s because of the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
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Global chip shortage & Galaxy “S series”: Killing the Galaxy Note 21?
No chips, mate!
While the global chip shortage is undoubtedly a good reason for any manufacturer to cancel any phone, we simply can’t believe that’s the case with the Galaxy Note 21. Why? Well, the Galaxy S21 FE is on the way to becoming official as soon as October. That doesn’t exactly scream “chip shortage”.So, we are left with the other two options – the S series and the novel Fold series. The first one actually makes a brilliant argument. Why did the Note exist in the first place… because it had a pen? Is this enough to justify the existence of a whole new device?
Well, the truth of the matter is – no, it’s not. Samsung knows that very well. However, every company needs iterative upgrades to their lineup in order to maintain the so-called “hype”, or in other words, customer attention.
Apart from that, the Note series has often been a way of “fixing” the Galaxy S series, which come out earlier in the year, and usually introduce some novel but sometimes rushed features. Take the Galaxy S20 Ultra, for example. It came with auto-focusing issues, and overall the camera was very underwhelming, considering the hardware. Then, the Note 20 Ultra had the job to fix that, and it did – it had a refined camera system and a bolder, better design language on top of all.
However, Samsung must have realized that most people don’t need a Note, but a more affordable iterative upgrade to the Galaxy S. And, so the Galaxy S20 FE was born. It was Samsung’s first phone that could be labeled a “flagship killer”. No, it didn’t come at $500, but it was definitely cheaper than the top-of-the-line Pro, Ultra, Max, and Plus flagships.
Unfortunately, Samsung doesn’t share sales numbers with the public, so we can’t tell you if the S20 FE sold better than the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. Fortunately, there are other indicators we can look at:
Google Trends US – Galaxy Note 20 (blue) vs Galaxy S20 FE (red).
Google Trends UK – Galaxy Note 20 (blue) vs Galaxy S20 FE (red).
Google Trends Germany – Galaxy Note 20 (blue) vs Galaxy S20 FE (red).
Amazon ratings (US)
- Galaxy Note 20 & Note 20 Ultra – 4,934
- Galaxy S20 FE – 5,391
Now, while none of the two indicators are perfect for our research purposes, they shed some light on other aspects of the performance of the phones on the market.
For starters, Google Trends tells us that the Galaxy S20 FE was more… trendy than the Note 20 series. The combined searches from the US, UK, and Germany show a clear lead for the FE, which is also sustained with the time.
Then, while Amazon doesn’t speak for sales, it certainly gives us a vague idea of how popular an item is. Ratings and reviews for the Galaxy S20 FE are slightly more, but the win here is more significant because it’s over both the regular Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra (combined).
Also, that’s only taking into account the S20 FE. Adding the “regular” S20 series and moreover S21 series of phones would paint the Note in an even worse light. So, there you have it! That’s why the Note 21 was canceled. But wait… Is there something else? (Please, act surprised!)
Galaxy Z Fold: It’s time for something new
The future is unFOLDing…
Of course, we can’t skip the “Fold” reason. While it’s pretty clear that Samsung wants to replace the Note with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 by equipping it with an S pen, what’s not so obvious is that this is Samsung’s pilot study or experiment, if you wish.
Samsung is testing the ground. The South Korean company is basically passing the ball to you – the customers. It’s the interest you show (on the internet and social media) and buying decision that’s going to decide the fate of the Galaxy Note series.
Bear in mind that when it comes to the Galaxy Z Fold series, “selling well” doesn’t necessarily mean “selling better than the Note”. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are (still) a new category of devices, which can’t really be compared to conventional smartphones.
The irony is that Samsung really wants to make them conventional – in the good sense of the word. That’s why we hear rumors about lower prices and much-needed improvements when it comes to durability – the two main issues with foldable devices.
So, without making this story longer than necessary – the ball is in your court, folks! If you buy the Galaxy Z Fold, Galaxy Z Flip, and Galaxy S21 FE, Samsung is very likely to kill the Note. As of now, it’s just the Note 21 that’s canceled. But for how long?