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Samsung might’ve canceled one of its best new Galaxy phones

Published Jun 14th, 2021 6:50AM EDT
Galaxy S21 FE Release Date
Image: Samsung

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Samsung is widely expected to launch three Galaxy devices of flagship status to replace the Galaxy Note 21, which isn’t coming this year. These are the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 foldables and the more affordable Galaxy S21 FE version. A few recent reports said that the two new foldable phones will be unveiled in early August and hit stores by the end of the month. The next-gen Galaxy smartwatches would arrive in mid-August, according to the same sources. Notably absent from those reports was the Galaxy S21 FE, a device that has usually been featured in various Fold 3 and Flip 3 launch rumors.

Separately, stories from South Korea have claimed over the weekend that the more affordable “Fan Edition” phone would be either canceled or delayed, prompting widespread speculation from leakers and pundits. Some of those reports claimed the Galaxy S21 FE would be canceled because of Snapdragon 888 chip shortages. Others said that it’s a battery issue that might have halted the production. Unsurprisingly, Samsung said in official comments that it hasn’t decided on whether to cancel the phone or not.

Samsung confirmed earlier this year that it would not make a Galaxy Note 21, blaming it on the ongoing chip shortage. Samsung did not reveal at the time what phones will replace the Note 21, but several reports followed pointing to the Fold 3, Flip 3, and S21 FE as replacements for the Note. This garden variety of new phones could address the needs of buyers looking for brand new Samsung hardware that offers a high-end experience. The Fold 3 would be the best and most expensive of the three, while the S21 FE would be an even cheaper version of the regular S21.

However, of all the three phones that Samsung has planned for the second half of the year, the S21 FE might be the least necessary. The Galaxy S20’s sky-high prices forced Samsung last year to develop a more affordable S20 FE alternative. This year, the Galaxy S21 was significantly cheaper than its predecessor at launch. By August, the S21 phones could be even more affordable thanks to new discounts and promotions. That’s because Galaxy phones never retain their value like iPhones. They usually see significant discounts in the months following their release.

The foldables are a different matter. Samsung wants to increase sales this year and maintain its dominance in the niche. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 are expected to be more durable and more affordable than their predecessors. On top of that, they’ll offer high-end hardware and novel specs.

Samsung isn’t ready to announce the Unpacked launch event that’s rumored to take place in early August, but the company hast told Bloomberg that it hasn’t decided whether to stop the S21 FE production.

While we cannot discuss details of the unreleased product, nothing has been determined regarding the alleged production suspension.

Samsung responded to confusing reports from Korea that claimed the Galaxy S21 FE production was suspended following shortages with the Snapdragon 888 processor. That report was then deleted. Others argued that the Galaxy S21 FE’s battery is to blame for the delayed launch.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.