What’s going on with Samsung’s launch plans for the Galaxy S21 FE?
We’ve been expecting the launch of a new Fan Edition version of a Samsung flagship for some months now. The Galaxy S21 FE, like the Galaxy S20 FE before it, is expected to be a more affordable version of its parent device that keeps many key features intact while bringing the price down a notch. In the case of the Galaxy S20 FE, it launched for just under $700 while the regular Galaxy S20 smartphones started at around $1000, making it an absolute no-brainer. We liked that phone a whole lot, and it went to become a massive success. So where’s the follow-up? A new report questions Samsung’s plans, and wonders if we might not see a launch at all.
According to South Korea’s Digital Daily, Samsung has cancelled the announcement event where it was supposed to introduce the Galaxy S21 FE, after initially planning it for mid-October. The site quotes an unnamed Samsung official as indicating that the event was cancelled and claiming Samsung is also reviewing its plans to release the new FE model at all.
The site mentions that Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Flip 3 foldable phone is selling very well, and given the ongoing semiconductor shortage, Samsung would rather focus its stock of Snapdragon 888 chips on making even more Z Flip 3 units than mass producing the Galaxy S21 FE. Both phones have different target audiences and different price points (with the Z Flip 3 starting at $999), so it’s not likely that the S21 FE would directly cut in on the Z Flip 3’s sales. But since they’re both using the same chip, every S21 FE built would mean one Z Flip 3 that wasn’t, and the company might be concerned about not being able to meet the demand for both phones at the same time.
Before you start freaking out, we should take this with the appropriate grain of salt. The article itself clarifies that Samsung has not yet cancelled the phone, only that it was evaluating that possibility given the reasons mentioned previously. Samsung did hold a special, sort of “mini-Unpacked” for the Galaxy S20 FE called “Unpacked for Every Fan“, but we haven’t seen any formal indications that Samsung is planning to hold something similar for the S21 FE.
There’s also some evidence pointing to the idea that Samsung might go through with the launch after all. For one, our own Max Weinbach mentioned on his Twitter account that SKUs for the S21 FE are alive and well on T-Mobile’s system, with demo and retail units included.
People keep talking about the S21 FE being canceled and yet T-Mobile just added seven new SKUs plus demo and retail models to their system.
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) September 27, 2021
At this point, and lacking any official statement, we can’t tell for sure whether Samsung will go through with its plans for the S21 FE or not. It might be entirely possible that the manufacturer has decided against holding a launch event for it, instead opting for a more low-profile introduction or press release instead. Given that this launch event was scheduled for mid-October, we should know in the next few weeks whether the phone will actually arrive on that timetable or not.