As good of an impression as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra powerhouse made in our in-depth review, the most impressive smartphone released by Samsung in the second half of 2020 is arguably the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G.
By no means flawless, this managed to vastly improve almost everything about its inherently flawed predecessor, refining that ambitious foldable design while considerably enhancing its durability. Naturally, the surprising maturity of the second-gen device rekindled speculation of the imminent demise of the S Pen-wielding Note family.
These rumors have been around for a few years now, with various insiders claiming (or rather assuming) that Samsung is having more and more trouble differentiating the Galaxy S and Note lineups. But although the gossip fire was further fueled by a recent report hinting at S Pen integration on the S21 series, it appears there’s still a good chance a Galaxy Note 21 5G will materialize in the second half of 2021.
The last of its kind?
Before getting too excited, hardcore Galaxy Note fans should know Korean media expects the death of the premium smartphone family to not be very far away. But instead of suddenly giving it the axe, Samsung is preparing a “sequential” exit by trying to “absorb Galaxy Note customers into the Galaxy S series” at first.
In order to pull that off, it seems that the company is indeed planning to add stylus support to the Galaxy S21 5G, and if the feature and early 2021 high-end product roster prove successful, the Note 21 could then mark the swan song of the beloved brand.
While the machine translation of this latest Herald Corp Biz story is a little all over the place, the publication’s sources appear to indicate the S21 series will not actually include an S Pen, simply supporting the hugely popular stylus as an optional accessory.
It’s also unclear how many of the three main Galaxy S21 variants are set to come with a built-in digitizer making this capability a commercial reality, but at least according to this report, Samsung‘s intention to phase out the Note family is pretty much etched in stone.
Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G is largely “to blame” here, accelerating the global adoption of foldable devices and possibly yielding a wide range of sequels and spin-offs that require Samsung’s undivided attention as the tech giant looks for the industry’s next paradigm shift.
The Galaxy S21 5G needs to be badass
Although it’s certainly true that Samsung’s Note-series handsets have never achieved the mainstream popularity of their S-series cousins, the impact this “phablet” lineup (remember that word?) has had on the mobile industry as a whole is also hard to deny.
With great success comes great responsibility, and it doesn’t take a fortune teller to anticipate quite a bit of backlash from the devoted followers of the Galaxy Note family if Samsung does decide to discontinue the brand sometime soon.
The only way to appease potentially disgruntled customers will be to release the greatest Samsung smartphone ever made in the Galaxy S21 5G… and then an even better one in the S22. Unfortunately, current speculation makes us expect largely incremental upgrades for the spring of 2021, including the usual processing power enhancements, a rather significant fast charging advancement, some… interesting albeit far from dramatic camera revisions, and a mixed set of battery size changes.
All signs point to 5G-enabled S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra models, by the way, and curiously enough, the middle version is shaping up to be the most compelling of the bunch. Unless, of course, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G will be the only one of the three to offer S Pen support, which is a theory that’s been bandied about in the recent past.