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We finally know when Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE launch might happen

Published Oct 6th, 2021 3:19PM EDT
Galaxy S21 FE Launch
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The Galaxy S21 FE is Samsung’s most puzzling project of 2021. But it’s not because the phone will deliver any breakthrough innovations or huge surprises. The S21 FE is supposed to be a cheaper version of the Galaxy S21, which is already more affordable than its predecessor. What’s so intriguing about the Galaxy S21 FE is the unnecessary drama surrounding its release. In an incredible twist, the newest rumor says Samsung might launch the handset right before the Galaxy S22 series.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE launch drama

Early Galaxy S21 FE rumors claimed Samsung would unveil the cheaper Galaxy S21 version over the summer. Some reports said that Samsung would launch the Galaxy S21 alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 in August. The three phones were expected to replace the Galaxy Note 21 that Samsung canceled. The S21 FE, Fold 3, and Flip 3 would offer buyers plenty of choices, albeit none of them came with the Galaxy feature that Note diehard fans coveted — a built-in stylus.

As we got closer to the Unpacked event, reports said that Samsung had canceled or postponed the Galaxy S21 FE. The Unpacked press conference in August gave us only two handsets, the Flip 3 and Fold 3. Other rumors said Samsung would launch the S21 FE later down the road, probably in October.

But we learned in late September that Samsung had canceled the October event. Even worse, the Galaxy S21 FE might be canceled completely. Well-known insider Ice Universe said at the time that if Samsung launches the Galaxy S22 series in December, there’s no point to have a Galaxy S21 FE in stores. A different leaker said the Flip 3 was selling so well that Samsung didn’t necessarily need the Galaxy S21 FE.

Galaxy S22 launch delay rumor

There’s no question that the Galaxy S22 is a lot more exciting than the Galaxy S21 FE. The handset should deliver several upgrades when it comes to processing power and camera. Even better, the Galaxy S22 Ultra will reportedly come with a built-in stylus, just like the Galaxy Note phones. The Galaxy S21 FE, meanwhile, would still be far less powerful. The Fan Edition phone would deliver more Galaxy S21 compromises. That’s the only way to make the S21 FE more affordable than the most basic Galaxy S21 version.

But Samsung might have a reason to reconsider its plans. According to SamMobile, Samsung still wants to launch the Galaxy S21 FE, and the company wight use the cheaper handset to keep buyers entertained in early January. That’s because the Galaxy S22 launch might be delayed.

It’s unclear what’s causing the delay. The ongoing chip shortage might be a valid excuse. Samsung could be looking to secure enough key components for the next-gen flagship. But that’s just speculation at this point.

The report says the Galaxy S21 FE won’t get its own launch event. Instead, Samsung might just issue a press release and release the phone.

In a now-deleted tweet, Ice Universe claimed that the Galaxy S21 FE would debut alongside the Galaxy S22 series at the end of December or January. That seems to contradict SamMobile’s take. Whatever the case, it appears that the Galaxy S21 FE isn’t dead. That said, Samsung won’t confirm anything until we get closer to an official announcement.

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.