Samsung Galaxy Note might be discontinued in 2021

The reported move comes as premium smartphone sales falter amid the global pandemic

A Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G user inserting the stylus into the smartphone

Samsung is reportedly planning to discontinue its Galaxy Note series next year as demand for its premium smartphones weakens. 

Reuters, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, reports that Samsung does not have plans to develop a new version of the Galaxy Note for 2021. This means that the Galaxy Note 20, which debuted in August this year, could be the final handset in the series. 

The report claims the with the Galaxy Note canned, Samsung will equip next year's Galaxy S21 with a stylus and add stylus compatibility to its Galaxy Fold series. A separate source told Reuters that company development efforts that normally would have been directed to the Note would now be channelled into its foldable phone range.

The reported decision to discontinue the Galaxy Note series is said to be the result of lacklustre sales. Although Samsung remains the number one global smartphone manufacturer, according to Gartner, sales of the company's premium devices have reportedly suffered as a result of the global pandemic. 

Tom Kang, an analyst at research firm Counterpoint, said sales of Samsung’s Note series are expected to fall by a fifth to 8 million this year, and a report from The Elec suggests that the Galaxy Note 20 hasn't performed as well as Samsung had expected. It reports that the firm expected to sell 900,000 units in October, but was forced to revise that figure down to 600,000 units. 

Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight, told IT Pro that Samsung is likely finding it “increasingly difficult” to differentiate between its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges.

“Given the diminished differentiation between the Galaxy and Note ranges, we believe there is increasing logic in Samsung converging these product platforms in the future,” he said. “At a time when consumers are holding onto their phones for at least three years, we question the strategy of having two major flagship launches per year. In our view, this could even erode the longevity of other devices in the company's line-up."

Samsung first launched the now-iconic Galaxy Note in 2011. The original model, which sold more than 10 million units, was considered a behemoth thanks to its 5.3-inch display, yet influenced other Android manufacturers to follow suit. 

The large-screened device was also pitched as a device tailor-made for professionals, with its in-device-stored S Pen designed for note-taking and on-the-go organisation. 

IT Pro has contacted Samsung for comment on the report. 

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