2020 was a strong year for Samsung, with its three main lineups — the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series — all drawing overall positive reactions. But look deeper and you will start to notice that some of the lines between these series have blurred, causing some overlap in their purpose. Samsung seems to have recognized some of the purpose-overlaps, as a new report suggests that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy S21 Ultra will come with S Pen support, and the Galaxy Note series might consequently get the ax.
Rumors about the discontinuation of the Galaxy Note series had been around shortly after the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 series, but these were still rumors at the end of the day. Now, a report originating from South Korea cites a “confirmation” from a Samsung Group official towards some of these rumors. Firstly, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (tentative name) is planned for a release in June 2021, and final samples for mass production have entered the development stage. Further, the premium foldable will come with an Under Display Camera (as other previous reports pointed out) and an S Pen. And even further, the foldable will come with a slot for the S Pen, integrating the same within its body in the same manner as the Galaxy Note series does right now.
S Pen support is also making its way to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (tentative name), but this phone/series is unlikely to have an integrated slot for the stylus. Instead, the S Pen will be sold separately, and some official cases could have a storage slot.
Consequently, with S Pen support making its way out of the Note series, there is very little purpose left for the Note lineup. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 ended up being awkwardly placed, and while the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was a definite flagship, its main highlight still remained the S Pen. Losing this exclusivity is akin to losing its entire identity, and we wouldn’t be surprised at all if everything from this report turns out to be true in the end.
With the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung is said to have developed its second-generation of Ultra-Thin Glass that would allow it to place an in-screen digitizer for S Pen recognition and still provide good scratch protection against S Pen use. The Under Display Camera is also planned for the device for its front camera. But if the end results in terms of image quality are not good, it could be omitted from this generation.
We’ll have to see how Samsung’s 2021 flagship series pans out. For now, don’t hold your breath on a new Galaxy Note in 2021.