The rumor mill says that the Samsung Galaxy S21 will be unveiled this coming January or February, just months after the already popular Galaxy S20 FE came to market. It's smart to do the first "big" phone release of the year and get ahead of the competition with the latest chip and the newest Samsung display. But it's also a little weird when there are so many great phones released so close together by the same company. While it's great for the consumer, it's also tough to hit those huge sales numbers phone makers are used to seeing.
I'm talking about Samsung, of course. Samsung just released two of its best phones ever with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in August 2020 and the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition in October. These phones cover both ends of the buying spectrum when it comes to price and value. The Note 20 Ultra is the best phone for people who want the greatest of everything no matter the cost, and the S20 FE gives you more bang for the buck than any other phone in the past few years. Both are easy to recommend to anyone because Samsung did things right.
Both the Note 20 Ultra and the S20 FE will be just as good in January 2021 as they are today. There's only one thing that will change: the price. That's what all consumer electronics makers do; set an MSRP at launch to grab the people who have been waiting for a particular product and some early-adopter money, then drop the price a few months later to keep the interest level in the product high. Every Android phone maker that actually makes money does this, and it's a smart way to sell a lot of phones.
This means the eyes that would normally be laser-focused on a new Galaxy S model have two other options (three, if the Galaxy S20 Ultra gets a deep price cut) to look at. That means Samsung has to do something with the Galaxy S21 to make it stand out.
That's going to be tough. Samsung stands out from its competition by using the best components and parts in its flagship phones. There are other reasons to buy a Samsung S series or Note series phone like 3 years of updates or access to Samsung's features and services like tight Windows 10 integration. But most people buy a high-end Galaxy device because of the heap of specs and hardware it is made from.
Samsung has offered the Note later in the year and the Galaxy S early the next year for a while now. It knows there are fans of both models, and it's figured out where the crossover is to best time the release date. The price has a lot to do with it, and a "regular" Galaxy S phone is going to be a lot less than the Note "plus" version with every bell and every whistle. But the S20 FE has an even better price, and it offers 90% of the rest of Samsung's lineup.
The Galaxy S21 will be yet another amazing phone from Samsung, of that I am sure. Its "Ultra" version will be bigger and better than any other phone you can buy that's not made by Samsung. But something special will have to be there to make it stand out from the Note 20 and S20 FE.
Maybe that's the plan all along. Samsung certainly can think up some crazy feature we didn't know we needed until we saw it in action. It's certainly possible that the S21 will have something of this sort; maybe that wrap around camera bump we've seen in the renders does something special. Maybe it's going to rely on the fact that the S21 has the latest Snapdragon chip to garner interest. I don't know what Samsung has planned.
But I do know that the Note 20 Ultra and S20 FE will both still be there and have a reduced price and even better financing options through Samsung and carriers. That really puts the Galaxy S21 in a new — and tough — spot. Nobody beats Samsung when it comes to making the best phones, but Samsung is now fighting itself with three great phones released in the span of five months.
The best part? We get to benefit. This could mean lower prices, better tech, or amazing features. Those are things we all love to see.
More Bang Less Bucks
Get 90% of a flagship at a fraction of the price
The Galaxy S20 FE is a fantastic value, providing many of the same specs as its flagship brethren while cutting costs in all the right areas.
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the Android Central team.