The next Galaxy Unpacked is all set for August 11 where we expect to see the newest generation of Samsung's foldables. But the Galaxy Note 21 will be markedly absent as the company confirms that we won't be seeing a new Note smartphone this year.
The fate of the Galaxy Note series has been in the balance for months, and looked even more precarious once the Galaxy S21 Ultra rolled out with its S Pen compatibility. Although the device doesn't have the stylus incorporated into its design, like the Galaxy Note 20 and all Note devices before it, it's possible to order a specially designed case to house the stylus so the transition isn't a big one. And while fans of the Galaxy Note devices will no doubt be disappointed, this was somewhat inevitable.
Whether Samsung has to prioritise because of chip shortages, or whether the Note series seems superfluous now that the S Pen is no longer exclusive to a single lineup, we don't know. But the company has also confirmed that the Note's best features will live on through its other devices.
Samsung's TM Roh, president and head of mobile communications business, shared his thoughts in a blog post on the next era of smartphone innovation, which is of course, focused on the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3. He teases some "foldable surprises" in store for the Galaxy Z family, "including the first-ever S Pen designed specifically for foldable phones." The news isn't a huge surprise, considering we got wind of it last year, but it's good to have it officially confirmed by Samsung.
"Instead of unveiling a new Galaxy Note this time around, we will further broaden beloved Note features to more Samsung Galaxy devices," Roh continues.
This will come as a blow if you were hoping to pick up the newest Galaxy Note this year, but despite being thought of as a slightly more premium offering than the S series – at least where the Ultra models are concerned – it makes more sense for Samsung to focus its efforts on a single flagship outside of the Z series with three options to hit three different price points.
The Note series usually offer a few upgrades over the S series, including a larger screen, S Pen compatibility, and newer features. Last year's Galaxy Note 20 sported the Snapdragon 865 Plus SoC for example, while the Galaxy S20 rolled out with the Snapdragon 865.
But Samsung's new path to innovation lies in the foldable Z series. Keeping the Note hanging around now that the S Pen can work with a slew of other devices seems pointless, and the other bells and whistles can easily be supplanted by a few choice upgrades to the S series. I won't miss the Note series and perhaps it's just taking a hiatus so as not to suck up chips that could be used elsewhere, but Samsung's new direction suggests we simply don't need it. And I'm on board with that.