The S Pen is the key differentiator between Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. That's why the stylus was never made compatible with any Galaxy S flagship. However, if a new report out of South Korea is believed, Samsung might be making a major change to its lineup in 2021.
It's claimed that the Galaxy S21 will come with an S Pen as Samsung is set to ditch the Galaxy Note series next year. The S Pen will only be available with the top-of-the-line model which would ostensibly be called the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Is the Galaxy Note series going to end next year?
The report mentions that the Galaxy S21 is in development at Samsung under the codename “Unbound.” It's going to come in three different models and if Samsung doesn't change the names, expect them to be called the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra. The S Pen will only be available with the Ultra.
It adds that the Galaxy Note 21's launch isn't set in stone yet for the second half of 2021. Samsung might launch an S Pen-equipped Galaxy Z Fold 3 in its place, at least that's what the industry sources mentioned in this report would have you believe. This would leave the foldable device as the only flagship handset Samsung releases in the second half of the year.
The company would certainly see a drop in overall shipments. Samsung is typically able to ship 10 million units of a new Galaxy Note before the end of the year. Shipments won't be anywhere near that for a foldable phone, at least over the next couple of years. Samsung would also be constrained by the production volume of the Ultra Thin Glass used for the Galaxy Z Fold 3's display. It currently makes 600,000 panels per month and is aiming to increase capacity to 1 million panels by the end of 2020. So it won't be able to produce as many foldable phones.
If this information is accurate, it would mean that the Galaxy Note 20 is the last iteration of this iconic series. Samsung might feel that doing away with it is a great way to secure a significant market share for the Galaxy Z Fold series. Shipping an S Pen with the foldable might be enough to entice Galaxy Note loyalists to switch. Samsung's margins on the Galaxy Z Fold handsets may also be enough to allow it to strike a balance between the number of units shipped and the amount of revenue generated compared to a Galaxy Note device.
Nevertheless, this will be a significant shakeup of Samsung's lineup, and would also require a big design change for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Is this something you're interested in seeing?