We exclusively confirmed a couple of weeks ago that the Galaxy S21 announcement will take place in early January next year. That's a departure from the norm for Samsung. It has unveiled new Galaxy S flagships in February for the past few years.
The February announcements would always be timed perfectly so that the new flagships didn't drown out in the CES and MWC coverage. Samsung would get a solid week's worth of media spotlight for the phones. That being said, we're living in a very different world now, one that has forced us to change many things.
Certification hints at early Galaxy S21 announcement
CES 2021 will happen but it's going to be an entirely virtual affair. As such, there won't be as big of a media frenzy. MWC 2021 isn't happening either, at least in February, as it has been postponed to the last week of June.
One of the reasons why Samsung is said to prefer an early Galaxy S21 announcement is that it wants a new flagship out quickly to complete with the latest iPhones. It also wants to beat any potential competition from other major Android OEMs. If Huawei suddenly sees its fortunes reversed after a new US president takes the reigns, Samsung would want to hedge against that bet as well.
There's also the fact that the company has too many high-end devices to release in a single year now. Soon after the Galaxy S21 it's expected to launch the Galaxy Z Flip 2. So the February slot that was previously for the Galaxy S handsets may now be used for the foldable.
The latest indication of the early Galaxy S21 announcement is the BIS certification for the Galaxy S21. The import certification has been granted to the base SM-G991B model in India. The Galaxy S21 has surfaced on BIS a full month before its predecessor did.
Samsung will need to complete all of the regulatory and certification formalities for its new devices if it wants them out by the end of January. That's why this is a big indication of the early launch. There's no word as yet on when the devices will actually hit shelves. Some report suggest that Samsung may release the Galaxy S21 series by the end of January.