We’ve been hearing about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE since the Galaxy S21 series launched in February, but we almost forgot about it at this point, due to its no-show at the August Samsung event and the myriad of leaks and speculation that suggest it is not coming.
Well, apparently it’s on its way after all, because Korean news site ETNews reported it as such. Apparently Samsung has just resumed production on the Galaxy S21 FE, having halted it in July due to the current shortage of chipsets – that implies the phone could be on the way next month.
According to ETNews, the phone could arrive “as early as October”, but the launch date will likely be in the “fourth quarter of the year”, so October, November or December. This is much later than the August launch of the Galaxy S20 FE.
We don’t usually see smartphone launches this late in the year, with mid-October usually being the deadline before launches stop until the New Year. Sometimes one or two phones will debut in November or December, but it’s usually a China-only launch.
So if it arrives at the end of October, as this news suggests, or even later, the phone could launch at a very risky time.
Analysis: too little, too late
Phone launches don’t go away at the end of the year for no reason: The double blow of Black Friday and Christmas means people aren’t going to buy expensive new gadgets because they can buy older tech in sales, or wait to be gifted with things at the end of the year.
If the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE gets into the preparations for Black Friday, as it appears to be, the company might have a hard time convincing people to buy the new phone. After all, why buy an expensive new device when you could just wait for the Black Friday phone deals to get a good deal?
This end-of-year release could have a serious impact on phone sales. But that might not be a bad thing.
It has been reported that the reason the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is later than expected is that the global chipset shortage means Samsung cannot produce enough phones to meet demand. Well, if demand is low due to Black Friday, the company won’t need to make that many phones until the New Year, when production can resume.
Either way, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE probably won’t launch with as much fanfare or pizazz as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 in August. We expected the FE back then, but foldable phones may be Samsung’s goal now.