Opinion

Breaking the S Pen’s Galaxy Note exclusivity could lead to great things

There are plenty of reasons to get excited over the upcoming Galaxy S21 lineup. The new camera design looks fantastic and the company has been developing a fresh Exynos 2100 chipset that may finally be capable of matching the performance levels reached by Qualcomm’s solution. But perhaps the most exciting change, in my mind, is the addition of the S Pen, even if it might end up being sold as an optional accessory as opposed to an integral part of the Galaxy S21 experience.

Before I elaborate, I should preface this by mentioning that I am a Galaxy Note owner and I use the Galaxy Note 10 as my daily driver. Even so, a word of warning might be in order: I’m not as attached to the Note brand as other customers seem to be. I find the S Pen and accompanying apps to be very helpful in a handful of specific situations, but in general, I care more about the functionality rather than the brand identity itself.

With that being said, I understand the argument that bringing the S Pen to more Galaxy devices might dilute the Galaxy Note brand. However, I think Samsung’s decision to democratize the S Pen will only benefit S Pen users in the long run for a couple of reasons. Here’s why.

The S Pen experience might become accessible at more price points

It’s been nine years since the original Galaxy Note was introduced and it took eight years for Samsung to bring the S Pen to a non-flagship smartphone model, i.e., the Galaxy Note 10 Lite.

For nearly a decade, numerous Samsung customers have wanted to try the S Pen experience for themselves but they haven’t been able to, whether it’s because they were too attached to the Galaxy S series and owning a second flagship wasn’t feasible, or for different reasons.

Now, Samsung hasn’t outright mentioned the words S Pen and Galaxy S21 together, but the company confirmed that it will bring key Galaxy Note-specific features to more Galaxy phones next year. Unofficially, there’s tons of evidence to support the notion that the Galaxy S21 series, or at least the Galaxy S21 Ultra, will have a screen capable of reading S Pen inputs.

Perhaps Samsung will reserve the S Pen for its flagship Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, and Galaxy Z Fold series. Then again, maybe this is just the beginning and the company intends to release different S Pen accessories along with other Galaxy phones at different price points.

More S Pens should lead to a better suite of apps

The Galaxy Note series has a strong following but it is not the most popular smartphone lineup Samsung has on offer. In turn, this means that the company has some limitations as to how much time and energy it can spend on improving each S Pen generation.

This could drastically change next year if the S Pen will be democratized. The more people will have access to and use the S Pen, the more reasons Samsung will have to improve this input device and its accompanying suite of productivity apps. So, on one hand, the S Pen will no longer be the secret weapon of every Galaxy Note owner, but on the other, this should be a small price to pay for a better, richer experience. Perhaps that one S Pen feature you’ve always dreamed of will finally be possible with the support of a larger user base.

In the end, long-time fans of the Galaxy Note series will lose a sense of exclusivity but the S Pen’s boosted popularity should benefit them greatly. Samsung might finally find a reason to clean up its S Pen suite of apps and give other tools as much attention as it did Samsung Notes.

Are you excited for the future of the S Pen or do you think it would be a mistake for Samsung to bring this iconic input device to non-Galaxy Note smartphones? Let us know in the comment section.

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