From consoles to graphics cards to cars, there seems to be a growing sense of dread at the semiconductor situation around the world. Thanks to various factors, including the current pandemic and the winter storm in the US, the demand for products using chips has started to outnumber the ability of manufacturers to supply them. Unsurprisingly, the smartphone market isn’t immune to that problem and it may hit the Samsung flagship that is always expected to be canceled year after year.
The Galaxy Note line, once Samsung’s pride, has become the subject of many rumors about its demise. The strongest arguments for canceling the Galaxy Note this year comes from Samsung’s own foldable phones, particularly the Galaxy Z Fold series. It seems that something far more worrying could turn out to be the Galaxy Note’s undoing instead.
Samsung mobile head Dong-jin Koh, a.k.a DJ Koh, revealed to shareholders that the company might skip the Galaxy Note 21 this year, if that is the name it would have gone with. Although the company exec does point out streamlining the company’s portfolio as a reason, he also alludes to the burden of launching two flagship models in a year. This year is especially problematic exactly because of the chip supply shortage that Samsung expects would be a problem in its next business quarter.
The semiconductor hasn’t completely recovered yet from the closure of plants last year but the demand for consumer electronics has only worsened the shortage. Samsung itself was also hit hard when its Austin, Texas fabrication plant suffered power outages this year and has yet to fully resume production. That, in turn, has also affected Qualcomm’s supply of 5G chips manufactured there, causing ripples in the mobile industry’s semiconductor supply chain.
The slightly good news for Galaxy Note fans is that the phone line won’t be going away completely, at least not yet. Koh said that launching such a phone in the second half of 2021 will be difficult, even if they adjust the launch date. Instead, the company is still seeking to release a new Galaxy Note model next year, presuming it hasn’t been made irrelevant yet by its own peers.