Samsung Galaxy Note 21 could be dead — here's why

samsung galaxy note 20
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It's looking more likely than ever that we won't see a Samsung Galaxy Note in 2021 — but not because the range is being killed off entirely. 

It’s long been rumored that the Galaxy Note range would be shelved due to Samsung’s increased interest in foldable devices. But according to Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin (via Bloomberg), the Note might well skip 2021 for a different reason: the ongoing global chip shortage.

Koh admitted that there is a “serious imbalance” with semiconductor supply and demand during an annual shareholder’s meeting. And as a result, he said, Samsung may be forced to postpone the release of the next Galaxy Note, releasing it next year instead of late 2021 as usual.

At that point, Samsung may decide to skip the Galaxy Note 21 and move on to the Galaxy Note 22 or another name. 

“Note series is positioned as a high-end model in our business portfolio. It could be a burden to unveil two flagship models in a year so it might be difficult to release Note model in 2H,” Koh said. “The timing of Note model launch can be changed but we seek to release a Note model next year.”

The global chip shortage has been causing major issues for the tech industry, with chip makers lacking the capacity to meet demand and supply chains affected as a result. And because just about everything needs chips these days, from phones to games consoles to cars, everyone is affected.

The shortage is the result of several factors, including increased demand for electronics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former President Trump’s trade war with China has also been cited as having a negative impact, due to restrictions placed on China’s biggest chip manufacturer, SMIC; because SMIC was prevented from purchasing more advanced chip-making equipment, it hasn’t been able to run at full capacity.

It’s also been reported that Qualcomm is struggling to meet demand for its Snapdragon chips. Since the company supplies components for just about every phone out there, including Samsung Galaxy devices, this is clearly a problem.

Of course it’s long been assumed that 2021’s Note will be the last in the range. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is virtually indistinguishable from a Note, thanks to its size and the new support for the S-Pen. Couple that with Samsung’s increased focus on the large-screen Galaxy Z Fold range, and there's good reason to doubt the Note's future.

The 2021 Note was expected to be the “last hurrah” of sorts, with one final phone designed to exemplify the best the Note has to offer. That still may be the case, but whether it actually arrives in 2021 or not is now less certain than ever. 

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.