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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE now tipped for a January launch — but is that too late?

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE render
(Image credit: 4RMD)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has been, at various points this year, imminent, delayed and cancelled. Now it’s back to its “delayed” state, with a handful of reliable leakers coalescing around a January 2022 reveal.

This comes as a direct response to the somewhat sketchy rumor that the Galaxy S21 FE was set to be unveiled at Galaxy Unpacked Part 2, which is just five days away on October 20. 

That rumor has been well and truly smacked down by those who, historically, have been in the know. 

First, display supply chain analyst Ross Young stated that based on his company’s analysis, an imminent Galaxy S21 FE release doesn’t seem likely. “We don’t think the S21 FE will be announced next week with shipments by the end of October as production doesn’t start till December,” he tweeted. “We are Team January for the S21 FE launch.”

Jon Prosser, a leaker with a solid track record in getting things right, backed this up in the replies.

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In a later tweet, Prosser went more precise with his prediction, saying that it will be January 11, 2022. And that drew out another leaker of pedigree, Max Weinbach, who agreed with the date.

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Of course, it’s technically possible that the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will get announced at the October event, but if a January release date is really correct, that would be bizarre from a marketing perspective. Why announce something quite so far off which could simply stop people buying a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 today? That’s just not the done thing. 

Too little, too late? 

If the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE really is going to appear in January, then I can’t help but think it’s far too late to make a serious impact. By then, Qualcomm will have a new Snapdragon chip out, and the Galaxy S21 FE’s main selling point — that it offers class leading internals at a more tempting price — will no longer be true.

And for every day that Samsung delays the launch, it becomes less appealing, due to the rate at which the company’s other high-end phones depreciate in value. Right now you can buy a ‘Renewed’ Samsung Galaxy S21 for under $500 from Amazon Marketplace — a phone that won’t have the FE’s cost saving cuts, and can be yours right now. For comparison, the Galaxy S20 FE launched at $699, and it seems unlikely Samsung would go any lower.

And that’s before you ever consider the fact that Samsung is tipped to introduce the Galaxy S22 family in early 2022. Just to overshadow the Galaxy S21 FE even further.

Frankly, if I were in Samsung’s shoes, I’d cut my losses now. I’d give the Galaxy S21 FE one last long delay… all the way to October 2022. Then I’d rename it the Galaxy S22 FE and give it a fighting chance. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.