Smartphone Launches Coming Earlier in 2021

Samsung will unveil new devices at Galaxy Unpacked next week

Samsung is starting 2021 by breaking with its own traditional smartphone launch cadence, after a very untraditional year. Its Galaxy Unpacked event, usually held in February or March, will be a mid-January affair this year. The company is set to unveil its Galaxy S21 range of smartphones on 14 January, making it the earliest release for its flagship Galaxy S series.

It’s been widely reported that Samsung will unveil three models: the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra. The new phones are expected to have a conventional smartphone design, with evolutionary feature developments, particularly improved imaging. We also expect the top model to support Samsung’s S Pen stylus, inheriting the functionality from the Galaxy Note family. In December 2019, TM Roh, Samsung’s president and head of the mobile communications business, announced the company’s plan to bring features from its Galaxy Note devices to other phones in its portfolio.

Samsung, just like its rivals, has faced the challenge of selling pricey, feature-rich 5G smartphones during a pandemic, when many retail channels were closed, many families were thrown into economic uncertainty and others had no reason to leave the house.

Samsung has also seen increased competition in the Android smartphone space from the likes of BBK Electronics, with its Oppo, OnePlus and Realme brands, for example, as well as Xiaomi. All these players have been targeting Huawei’s diminishing share and chipping away at Samsung’s sales volumes. Apple has also provided fierce competition to Samsung in several major markets including the US, partially as a result of its strategy to undercut the Samsung’s flagship phones in pricing.

Apple’s decision to price its iPhone 11 at $699 spurred the South Korean smartphone-maker to launch the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (FE) at the same price, but beating the iPhone when it comes to specifications. Samsung was wise to launch the Galaxy S20 FE, proving it can learn from the market and adjust relatively quickly. By our estimates, the device has sold very well, establishing itself as a solid 5G handset in Samsung’s flagship fleet.

Samsung has become skilled in stretching out the buzz and benefits of top-tier device launches. In addition to its winter launch event next week, we expect the company to roll out several premium foldables in the middle of 2021 and another FE version of its Galaxy line in the autumn. These products will be joined by a slew of lower-priced smartphones, many with 5G capability.

Add to this Samsung’s large collection of consumer electronics, smart devices and major appliances, and you can be sure the company won’t be shy in showing off its universe of products for a fully connected life in a bid to keep momentum rolling in 2021.