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Early January is arguably the worst time to be launching new Galaxy FE phones


Last updated: January 6th, 2022 at 15:32 UTC+02:00

Samsung ended the constant flow of Galaxy S21 FE leaks and rumors earlier this week. The new Fan Edition device got announced in Las Vegas on January 4, and it could be described as a mixed bag in that it offers a good combination of specs and features, though we believe that Samsung may have valued it too highly. But we’ll leave the phone’s characteristics and price aside for now and, instead, talk about another aspect concerning the Galaxy S21 FE that didn’t bode well with us. Namely, its release date.

We don’t presume to possess Samsung’s analytical power to decide when it’s the best time of the year to unveil a phone. But for what it’s worth, a January 4 release for a highly-anticipated smartphone as the Galaxy S21 FE doesn’t make a lot of sense to us for a few reasons, which we’ll explain shortly.

Firstly, the rule of thumb is that consumer spendings decline in January, as customers aren’t too willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone right after the holiday shopping season.

Secondly, releasing a Fan Edition smartphone so close to the launch of a brand-new flagship series — in this case, the Galaxy S22 — doesn’t seem very logical. Most diehard Samsung fans will wait for the company to reveal the next flagship. They’ll view the base model as a potential alternative to the Fan Edition device, and they won’t commit to the FE phone until they know what exactly the next flagship has to offer — and at what price.

And finally, apart from the consumer side of things, an early January release can be quite inconvenient for the press. The following information may not be of interest to you as a reader/tech enthusiast, or perhaps it piques your curiosity. Either way, releasing popular smartphones at CES has never been too convenient for the media — especially outside of the USA — mainly because the tech event happens immediately after New Year’s. And, as some of you may have noticed by now, many OEMs — including Samsung — have more or less stopped unveiling highly anticipated phones at CES in the past few years.

So, when Samsung decided to unveil the Galaxy S21 FE on January 4 — even slightly earlier than the official start of CES 2022 — many journalists had to take the company’s schedule into account, first and foremost, before they could make any plans for New Year’s. That is, regardless of whether or not they booked a flight to Las Vegas.

By the way, we’re on the CES show floor right now and will be covering the most exciting Samsung products unveiled at the event. And indeed, there are quite a few exciting new devices that make up for our early visit to Las Vegas. Make sure you follow us on YouTube if you don’t want to miss out on The Freestyle projector, the Samsung Home Hub, and more.

In Samsung’s defense…

According to early evidence, Samsung initially planned to unveil the Galaxy S21 FE in September-October 2021, which would’ve made a lot more sense, considering that the Galaxy S20 FE was unveiled in September and released in October 2020.

Unfortunately, production issues related to the global semiconductor shortage led to the current situation, wherein the Galaxy 21 FE was announced 15 months apart from the Galaxy S20 FE, on January 4, 2022. So, in Samsung’s defense, early January wasn’t the plan, initially, which means that we could be going back to a more normal launch schedule in the future.

Perhaps December would’ve been the second-best choice for the Galaxy S21 FE’s launch window. It would’ve made for an interesting way to wrap up the year and return to where it all started: the Galaxy S21 series. But whether by choice or forced by the market climate, Samsung finally brought us the Galaxy S21 FE in the first week of January.

Moving forward, we can’t be too sure of Samsung’s release plans for the Galaxy S22 FE — if this sequel will exist. But let’s assume it will, and the global semiconductor shortage won’t be as big of an issue this year. Should Samsung go back to a September launch for the Galaxy S22 FE? Or is there a better way?

Should Fan Edition Galaxy phones be announced every September, early December, or January?

An early December release for the Galaxy FE smartphone series could help sales during the holiday season, though, on the other hand, the phone would compete — at full price — with older (but still competent) devices sold at a discount. So, a December release might not work out in its favor. You never know. And, realistically, December may be too close to the launch of the Galaxy S series, still, which always poses a great risk.

After the Galaxy S21 FE hits the shelves, Samsung will probably return to a September-October launch for the Galaxy FE lineup, assuming that the supply chain allows it. Time will tell, but whatever the case may be, we’re hoping that the Galaxy S21 FE is the company’s last phone to hit the big stage in Las Vegas in the first week of January.

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OpinionPhone CESCES 2022Galaxy S21 FEGalaxy S22 FE
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