As unreleased Android smartphone rumours go, this is pretty big: Samsung, the world's second-largest mobile phone manufacturer (it was overthrown from the top spot by Huawei in July this year) might be looking to discontinue its premium Galaxy Note phones.
A new Reuters report states that three unnamed sources "familiar with the matter" have all confirmed that at present, the South Korean tech giant does not have plans to develop a new version of the Galaxy Note (to update the 2020 release Galaxy Note 20 and Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra) in 2021.
The move to discontinue the Galaxy Note, if true, would reflect a drop in demand for high-end new smartphones as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – and could also be as a result of the popularity of Samsung's recent, affordable S20 Fan Edition smartphone.
The Galaxy Note was first launched in 2011 and the line is known for its flagship specs, large hi-res screen and S-Pen for note-taking. It's one of two Samsung non-foldable premium phone ranges (the other being the more compact Galaxy S – and if reports are to be believed, a trio of these for January 2021 is already in production).
Contrary to previously leaked specs for the S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra, one of the sources cited in the new report said the next flagship Galaxy S series will come bundled with the S-Pen, and that the next version of Samsung’s foldable Galaxy Z Fold2 phone will be compatible with the stylus, but that it'll be sold separately.
A second source allegedly said that Samsung's development efforts – those that normally would have been focused on the Note – would now be channelled into its foldable Z Fold phones (see below).
According to the report, Tom Kang, an analyst at research firm Counterpoint, told Reuters that sales of Samsung’s Note series are expected to drop by one fifth to 8 million this year, while sales of the S series are likely to fall by 5 million, to less than 30 million.
“Premium demand has decreased this year and many people are not looking for new products,” he said.
Samsung has yet to break its silence over the matter and officially confirm or deny its intentions going forward.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 Ultra launched in September 2020, with a price tag of £1179 ($1299 / AU$1849). The Galaxy Z Fold2, also a September 2020 launch, will set you back £1799 ($1999 / AU$2999). Pricing for the new S21 lineup has yet to be revealed – but watch this space.
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