Samsung is banking on its flagship foldable phone series, and it's easy to understand why. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 impressed with its debut this fall, especially given the rocky launch of its predecessor. And with rumors heating up about the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung’s upcoming foldable could stake out an even bigger role in the company's phone lineup.
How big? Korean publication Aju News (opens in new tab) claims that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will take center stage by the middle of 2021, as the phone maker discontinues its long-running Galaxy Note product line.
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Dropping the Galaxy Note would be a big move for Samsung, as the phablet line has been a central focus at Samsung for a little less than a decade. Samsung hasn’t commented on the growing number of rumors about the Note’s fate, which started in earnest more than a week ago when noted leaker Ice Universe tweeted (opens in new tab) that there was no indication Samsung was working on a new version of the Note.
That hasn’t been the case with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which has been the focus of many rumors and leaks — the biggest of which suggests that it will feature a stylus similar to the Note’s S Pen. That has been the Note’s exclusive feature, which suggests to some that the phablet’s days are numbered in favor of a foldable phone with a larger screen.
Additionally, the Galaxy Note 20 series experienced sluggish sales (opens in new tab), not long after launching. According to analytics firm Counterpoint Research, the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra ended up placing only fourth and eighth in the top 10 smartphone sales just in the first week of September alone behind the iPhone 11 line. With opening numbers like these, it seems obvious that Samsung would be wise to rethink its phone lineup.
The Aju News report claims that Samsung was able to find an in-screen digitizer that lets the S Pen work with the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s foldable screen that has a much thinner layer of glass than traditional smartphones. Without making changes to the S Pen, the stylus would scratch up the Fold’s display
Other rumors suggest that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will feature under-screen camera technology, a first for Samsung that will get rid of visible cut-outs for cameras in the phone’s screen.
According to Aju News, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could debut as soon as June, which would be earlier than the usual August/September rollout for the Galaxy Note. But we could get a sign that the Note’s days are numbered before then with the early 2021 release of the Galaxy S21. If that new phone lineup adopts more Galaxy Note features — like stylus support — the Galaxy Note’s days could be truly numbered.