Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled the first Galaxy S smartphone with an on-screen stylus called the S Pen on Thursday, more than a month ahead of the usual annual release schedule for its flagship compact phone models. Analysts said the offering of a stylus within the Galaxy S21 series could signal that the South Korean tech giant will merge the S line with its other range of premium smartphones, the Note, which already comes with a stylus for taking notes. This could free up resources for Samsung to push its separate range of high-end foldable phones as key mass products rather than niche devices.
Samsung is also trying to gain market share after China’s Huawei Technologies was hit by US sanctions that restricted its supply and hurt sales, analysts said. An early launch of the Galaxy S21 is a likely tactic to capitalize on Huawei’s troubles, said Counterpoint Research analyst Sujeong Lim. New iterations of the Note typically come in the second half of the year.
Lim said Samsung faces intense competition in the high-end category from Chinese suppliers amid the growing demand for devices that can be used for remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as playing games like video games. In the US, the Galaxy S21 price range starts at $ 799.99, the S21 Plus version for $ 999.99, and the S21 Ultra for $ 1,199.99.
The series will be widely available starting January 29 on Samsung.com, operators and online retailers, Samsung said. With the most advanced processing chip in any Galaxy device, the S21 is 5G compatible and designed for shooting and viewing video and images, as well as screen work. The high-end of the range, the Ultra – the only version compatible with the S Pen stylus, which must be purchased separately – sports a four-lens rear camera that allows for different angles and zoom shots.
Samsung plans to offer the stylus with other devices, said TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile communications business. The screen size of the standard S21 is 6.2 inches, with the S21 Plus at 6.7 inches and the S21 Ultra at 6.8 inches optimal for watching videos and gaming. The latter two are similar in size to last year’s Galaxy Note ‘phablets’, a cross between a phone and a tablet.
The S21 series is powered by Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon 888 chips or Samsung’s Exynos 2100 chips depending on the region, Samsung said. Qualcomm said last month that the 5G chips will be manufactured by Samsung’s chipmaking division.
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- The latter two are similar in size to last year’s Galaxy Note ‘phablets’, a cross between a phone and a tablet. The S21 series is powered by Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon 888 chips or Samsung’s Exynos 2100 chips depending on the region, Samsung said.
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