Samsung’s president of mobile, TM Roh, dropped several hints about the company’s product roadmap in a blog post today. He confirmed Samsung will hold an event in January — presumably for the Galaxy S21. He also implied that S Pen support will come to more phones and that Samsung intends to broaden its line of folding phones with less expensive options.
The hint that’s likely to have the biggest impact on the greatest number of customers is stylus support for Galaxy phones beyond the Note line. That’s been rumored for some time now, but Roh also claims that Samsung intends to “add some of its most well-loved features to other devices in our lineup.”
It may mean that the other half of those rumors will also come to pass: that the Note line itself may soon be coming to an end, at least as a premium flagship in Samsung’s lineup. The Note hasn’t been that differentiated from the regular S line of phones for a while now. The main difference beyond design language has been that silo for the stylus.
Samsung will have an event in January to announce new products
With S Pen support on Galaxy S phones like the upcoming Galaxy S21 line and Z phones like the Z Fold (and maybe even a Z Flip), Samsung probably figures it’s just as easy to store a stylus in a case as it would be inside a phone.
Roh also confirmed that Samsung will be providing more details in January. That’s when Samsung is expected to unveil the Galaxy S21 line, a month or two ahead of when it usually does.
The S Pen wasn’t the only thing Roh hinted at in the post. He also said that Samsung intends to have a “portfolio of foldables” and that it wants to make the category “more accessible to everyone.” “Accessible,” in this case, is likely a reference to the price of folding phones, which clock in anywhere from $1,300 to $2,000 for a new phone right now. The rumor here is that there will be a Z Fold “Lite” sometime in 2021. If folding phones are ever going to be more than a curiosity, they’ll need to come down significantly in price. That appears to be what Samsung is aiming for.
The next version of the Z Fold will likely include support for stylus input. Image: Samsung
Roh says that Samsung will put more emphasis on “pro-grade camera and video capabilities” on its phones. That’s not really much of a revelation, but it may mean that Samsung hopes to get back into a camera quality race with Apple and Google — a race Samsung has yet to definitively win. Roh promised an “epic new year” and specifically mentioned using AI to improve image quality. Computational photography is precisely where Samsung has traditionally fallen a little behind its competitors.
He hinted that it would begin to do more with UWB in 2021 as well. Like Apple, he’s promising that your phone will open your car door. Unlike Apple, he’s willing to talk about using it to locate objects and “even your family pet.”
That’s a lot of teases for Samsung’s January event, which we currently expect to happen on the 14th. That’s when we’ll see the Galaxy S21 announced and perhaps a bit more, an earlier start than usual to a new year of phones.