Although sometimes incomprehensible to consumers, there are serious business reasons behind companies’ timetable for launching products, especially smartphones. For the past years, Samsung has adopted a more flexible schedule, adjusting dates to compensate for lackluster sales, for example. The biggest change it might be making, however, is when it announces the Galaxy S21 next year more than a month earlier than usual. It won’t be due to poor Galaxy Note 20 sales (though there are rumors about that) but in an attempt to cut the iPhone 12’s popularity short.
There were already rumors that the Galaxy S21, Samsung’s next flagship for the first half of 2021, will be shipping uncharacteristically early. Samsung usually holds an Unpacked event in late February or early March, which is then followed by a retail launch about a month later.
According to the industry rumors, however, Samsung will be holding its Unpacked 2021 in mid-January instead. That means that the Galaxy S21 might be available in stores and from retailers as early as late January to early February. This would make the phone a month and a half earlier than usual, causing no small amount of speculation as to why.
Korean media paint the decision as Samsung’s way of curbing Apple’s time in the spotlight. The iPhone 12 is launching late and the iPhone 12 Max models even much later. Samsung sees this similarly unusual occurrence as an opportunity to one-up Apple by immediately hogging the stage just a few months after the latest iPhones launched.
It is, of course, a big gamble on Samsung’s part, one that could also backfire and hit it hard instead. Rumors about the Galaxy S21’s specs and features have been mixed and its early debut implies Samsung has had little time to invest in this iteration. If the Galaxy S21 ends up being a flop, it would definitely grab the spotlight in the wrong way, leaving it vulnerable until it is able to launch a Galaxy Note 21 sooner than usual as well, or, if the rumors are true, a Galaxy Note 20 FE.