Bottom line: In an annual shareholder's meeting, Samsung's co-CEO and mobile chief, Koh Dong-jin, highlighted the ongoing semiconductor shortage, noting a "serious imbalance" in the supply and demand of chips. With the crisis expanding to the mobile industry, Samsung is finding it difficult to release the next Galaxy Note in the second half of this year, something it has been doing consistently with all guns blazing for almost a decade.
The Galaxy Note 20 was rumored to be the last phone in the Note lineup, based on reports of Samsung discontinuing the brand entirely. While some analysts believed the company might see off its flagship series with a fan edition model, Korea's Yonhap News cited an anonymous Samsung official claiming that the next Note was indeed in the works for 2021.
While the Note's fate seemed to hang in the balance based on Samsung's efforts to streamline its high-end offerings, it now appears that the ongoing chip shortage has come into play as well, inadvertently revealing Samsung's plans for the Note series and bringing with it good and bad news for fans.
The bad news is no new Galaxy Note for 2021, as Samsung executive Koh Dong-jin told shareholders that it could be a "burden" to release two flagships in a year, reports Bloomberg. The company's key supplier, Qualcomm, has also been struggling to supply chips to partners, and Samsung knows its Galaxy Note fans are a picky bunch when it comes to choosing between the phone's Snapdragon variant and Samsung's in-house Exynos version.
As for the good news, the Galaxy Note line is here to stay, for now. Koh Dong-jin went on to mention that Samsung seeks to release a new Note model in 2022, though the phone's usual launch window might be changed. Given that Qualcomm expects the chip crisis to improve by the end of this year, holding out for the next Note might be well worth the wait.