Samsung didn’t have the guts to admit that it planned to kill the Galaxy Note about a year ago when it announced there wouldn’t be a Galaxy Note 21 in 2021. Samsung blamed the components shortage for the lack of Note last year. But now that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has become a significant success story for the company, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra takes over as the Note’s replacement, Samsung is finally ready to admit it. The Galaxy Note brand is canceled. It’s dead for good.
There won’t be any more Note models for the foreseeable future, as Samsung has a clear strategy in place for the coming years. But the S Pen isn’t going anywhere.
The Galaxy Note is canceled
The writing has been on the wall for several years. Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones had two main advantages over traditional smartphones: They featured much larger displays, and each model came with its own S Pen stylus.
But then the “all-screen” smartphones started arriving a few years ago. All of a sudden, every phone had a large display to rival the Galaxy Note’s screen. The bezels shrank significantly, so you didn’t have to buy a Galaxy Note to get the biggest possible screen. In the end, the only thing the Galaxy Note had going for it was the S Pen.
Last year, Samsung offered the first clue that it planned to cancel the Galaxy Note when it unveiled the Galaxy S21 series. The Galaxy S21 Ultra was the first Galaxy S handset to support stylus input. But unlike the Note, the Galaxy S21 Ultra did not ship with a built-in S Pen. The Galaxy S22 Ultra fixes that. The phone looks just like a Note would complete with stylus support.
Samsung also added S Pen support to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 foldable launched last summer. But like the S21 Ultra, the Fold 3 doesn’t have an S Pen slot. You need a special case to house the stylus with these phones.
Samsung confirms new smartphone strategy
When Samsung set in motion its plans to remove the Galaxy Note from its lineup, it had no idea whether the big bet on foldables would pay off. But the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3, the company launched last summer, were instant successes. They’re more durable, more affordable devices, and Samsung saw significant demand. As it stands now, Samsung is the leader in the foldable market, although plenty of companies are ready to challenge that dominance.
Separately, the Galaxy S22 Ultra satisfies the Galaxy Note thirst. Diehard Note fans have their new S Pen-ready phone. And the S22 Ultra is more than a Note than a Galaxy S device.
These developments finally allowed Samsung to say out loud what we all knew. The Galaxy Note is canceled, as the company has a new strategy in place for its smartphone business. Samsung mobile chief TM Roh confirmed the news to Bloomberg.
“In the near term, our operation will focus on a two-track strategy: flagship S series in the first half of the year and innovative foldable lineup in the second half,” Roh said. “We will keep this strategy until there’s another major breakthrough and we are working hard to make it happen.”
Foldable sales already saw impressive growth last year. And Roh told Bloomberg that the Galaxy S22 series is up by double-digit percentages relative to last year’s preorders. The Ultra model is apparently a hot seller already.
The exec added that it will focus on the premium segment as its growth engine. The company will expand the Galaxy Note experience across its Galaxy hardware ecosystem. That includes tablets, laptops, and phones, Roh said. That probably means adding S Pen support for more devices.
New phone factors?
Samsung already ships its flagship tablet with a built-in stylus. That’s the Galaxy Tab S, a new version of which Samsung launched on Wednesday.
Furthermore, Roh expects foldable to grow into new categories. As a result, Samsung will add one or two new smartphone form factors to its lineup within the next three years. It’s unclear what these devices will be. But what’s probably safe to say is that they’re not going to be traditional Galaxy Note models.
The Galaxy Note brand might be canceled officially, but you can get a brand new Note experience by getting the Galaxy S22 Ultra. And Samsung has plenty of great preorder perks for buyers right now.