Samsung Galaxy Note series no more this year, bets on foldables

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An integral part of its flagship premium portfolio that created a distinct buzz every year, the popular Galaxy Note series will not make its appearance in 2021, the company said on Tuesday, as it bets big on the future of foldable devices.

Unveiled at IFA Berlin for the first time and later arrived in the market in October 2011, the iconic device made a strong customer base globally including in India, owing to the unique S (Stylus) Pen, bigger and better screen, and overall productivity that separated the device from the rest.

Dr. TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, said that instead of unveiling a new Galaxy Note this time around, “we will further broaden beloved Note features to more Samsung Galaxy devices”, as the company prepares to enter the next generation of foldable Galaxy Z devices next month.

According to Tarun Pathak, Research Director, Counterpoint Research, the Galaxy Note series surely had a loyal fan base and, over the past decade, positioned itself as a go-to device in terms of enterprise-grade and productivity-centric features, thanks to the stylus.

“The differentiation with the stylus was so strong that none of the smartphone players were able to bring the stylus with the same impact as Samsung in the past decade, even though a handful of OEMs tried that route,” Pathak told IANS.

Now Samsung is looking to replicate the same with foldable categories where it has already an edge being on the second generation of devices.

“It will surely look forward to bring some Note-related features in the foldable as well,” he added.

Launched last year, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra broke the gridlock and monotony of our daily lives, providing some out-of-the-box moments. It redefined productivity in the work-from-home (WFH) era amid the pandemic.

For Samsung, it makes prudence to focus more on aligning their product portfolio by bringing S-Pen and other functionalities from the Galaxy Note, said Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR.

“As differentiation between the Note and other product series gets blurrier, it will be in Samsung’s advantage to consolidate, and focus on furthering its leadership in foldable phones,” Ram told IANS.

However, according to Counterpoint Research, foldable smartphone shipment share will remain in the low single digits for the foreseeable future as the industry experiments with various form factors, designs, materials, and operating system variants.

“Foldables accounted for just a fraction of a percent of last year’s 1.3 billion total addressable markets in smartphones and is expected to reach just 1.2 percent by 2022,” according to the data.

Although the foldable market grew significantly over the past year, it was from a small base and is expected to remain niche through the medium term.

“Three key things must happen before we see any significant volumes: 1) Significant price declines with flagships at around $1,000–$1,500; 2) more vendor participants — we’re starting to see this now; and 3) Apple’s entry into space,” said Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Jene Park.

Ram added: “The current market conditions, including the semiconductor supply chain crunches, and the pandemic impact on consumer smartphone buying behavior, make it tougher to sustain two distinct flagship product platforms”.

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