Note No More?

Posted on December 1, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android with 12 Comments

Multiple reports state that Samsung is killing the Note lineup to make way for folding smartphones at the upper end of its Galaxy product family.

Reuters cites multiple sources in stating that Samsung currently has no plans to release any Note-branded smartphones in 2021, confirming rumors that Samsung will discontinue its premium Galaxy Note lineup next year, roll the S-Pen, a crucial differentiator, into the Galaxy S21 lineup, and then replace the Note with an updated family of foldables that will also be S-Pen compatible.

But Reuters also notes that the move might have something to do with changes to the smartphone market during the pandemic: Demand for high-end smartphones experienced a steep decline this year.

The publication quotes a Counterpoint analyst who claims that Note sales could fall as much as 20 percent this year to 8 million units, while Galaxy S sales will also fall by 20 percent, to 30 million units.

If this all comes to pass, the Note lineup will have concluded after a decade-long run that began with the first Note in 2011.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Note No More?”

  1. glenn8878

    It's hard to justify buying a smartphone costing over $1000, but folding smartphones easily exceeds $1500 and beyond. Standardizing with the folding feature makes these smartphones top-of-the-line that can only increase prices and lessen demand.

  2. ngc224

    Probably for the best. I can’t help but think of the disastrous Galaxy Note 7 every time I hear “note.”

  3. rmlounsbury

    I would be disappointed to see the Note line go away as it has been my go-to device if I decide to go with a Samsung phone. That being said, it does make sense that the Note comes to it's conclusion in the next year. It is no longer the experimental flagship that comes out with new features that no other device has. That title has gone to regular Galaxy S Ultra name plate & foldable phones. The Note phones are now just an S20+ and S20 Ultra with a stylus and built in silo to store it.

    I hope Samsung brings S-Pen support across the entire Galaxy S and not just the Ultra nameplate. As it is the S20 Ultra cost more than the Note 20 Ultra and you'd have to buy a separate S-Pen to gain the functionality. At least if the Galaxy S plus model gets support as of current pricing it would end up being rough the same price as the current Note 20 Ultra (though you still have to buy an S-Pen).

  4. ronh

    Just add the pen and related apps to the Galaxy.

  5. Daekar

    A shame. I hope its successors live up to the legacy of the Note series, my Note 10+ has turned out to be nearly perfect for my needs.

  6. red.radar

    With people less mobile and updates more or less incremental.... I think the best thing is to slow the release down on flagships. The incremental updates don't justify the incredible development costs. Instead focus on the middle ground segmenting the market to extract more profit. Get the guy who is willing to spend 500 bucks just to get a better camera but could live with last years flagship processor. Find the gamer who wants the blazing speed but could care less on industrial design. Find the construction worker who just needs reliability and durability but doesn't care that his food pictures are perfectly exposed in poor lighting. Find the luddite that likes what they have and just want to be able to maintain access to current apps and services.

    The 2012 growth strategy of everyone gets a flagship because its new and awesome...seems not appropriate in a market that has become commoditized.

  7. crunchyfrog

    As a former Note owner, I can see why Samsung would begin to phase out the phone. The Note was always an icon for two things: the stow away pen and the large screen. As much as I liked the pen, it was a gimmick and nowadays, most phones have screens as large or larger than the Note line. A lot of the high tech goodies the Note was always loved for have become commonplace for most of the Galaxy line currently. I often cannot tell a Note from a Galaxy phone without looking for the pen on the bottom.

  8. longhorn

    I think people are tired of buying flagships just to get Pen support. A midrange Note phone for $600 could do well I think. I think Galaxy Note 2 was in that price range and it did well despite $600 was flagship territory back then (2012).

    A $1500 phone won't become mainstream so this might be the end for Pen support. I think people in general might be willing to spend $100 to $200 extra for Pen support (those who care).

    If Samsung had been serious about Pen support and starting an Android third party Pen ecosystem then they would have brought S-Pen to cheaper phones. Samsung did the opposite and effectively killed it.

  9. codymesh

    the Note being discontinued will be a pretty big loss for device diversity in the Android ecosystem. I don't think all these "Ultra" flagship phones with souped-up cameras target different users like the Note did.

    However, putting the S-Pen into other Galaxy flagships might basically pass as a Note anyway, so it might not matter. I would love to see a $400-$600 Galaxy non-flagship device with an S-Pen or with S-Pen compatibility.

  10. brettscoast

    Interesting development there, there are a lot of fans of the note which will no doubt be disappointed to see this model disappear completely, its been a flagship device for many years for Samsung.

  11. bleeman

    I'm disappointed in seeing this coming change. I've always preferred the Note line over the standard S line because of the stylus. With my big hands I use the stylus constantly when accessing various applications, making phone calls, etc. I've read where they are including S pen support in the new S lines but the problem is there is no storage slot for it. So you either get to carry that around in your pocket (and most likely break and/or lose it) or someone will probably make a case that includes a loop or slot for it. Neither of which sound appealing at all. As for the move to their higher priced folding phones, no thanks! I'm not about to pay upwards of $2000 for a phone. It was bad enough paying for my Note 10+ after discounts and such. I was going to move up to the Ultra Note 20 when I heard about this, but all the trade-in promos require me to switch to a plan that costs more than my current one, so I guess I'll be hanging on to my Note 10+ until it no longer functions. Then not sure what. Maybe a couple of juice cans and a long string. ;-)