From 2020, the Galaxy Note range took a back seat in Samsung’s advertising and communication. So much so that it did not make an appearance in 2021. Now we are in the middle of 2022, with the first Samsung Unpacked just concluded and with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra on the street. It is a mobile that collects all the witnesses of the Note range, from the design to the S-Pen, through the screen and the format. It is a mobile that confirms what was an open secret:
The Samsung Galaxy Note is dead; long live the Samsung Galaxy S Ultra.
It was 2021 when suspicions began that the Note range was doomed to disappear. The Galaxy S21 Ultra came with S-Pen support, albeit half-heartedly, as while it was compatible, it couldn’t be stored in the chassis as it was on the Note (unless we used the S Pen Smart Clear View case).
That year was the first time in a decade that Samsung did not renew the Note. Instead, the company went for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Z, which are its foldables. It was argued that a shortage of chips might have been one of the culprits, but there is another reason: although the Galaxy Note was very popular, it accounted for barely 5% of the units distributed by Samsung.
In addition, it may not be entirely sustainable to maintain two premium ranges in the market, especially now that the competition (and scarcity) is so fierce. At a strategic level, it makes sense to forget about the Note: fewer handsets are kept and priority is given to other ranges that are complemented by the Note’s own functions.
As expressed by TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Business Communications at Samsung Electronics, “in the short term, our operation will focus on a two-track strategy: the flagship S-series in the first half of the year and the innovative foldable line in the second half […] We will maintain this strategy until there is another breakthrough and we are working hard to achieve it.” Leaving no room for doubt.
This is something we see in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It is a mobile radically different from its smaller siblings, with a design that could well be of a Note and that, among other things, has S-Pen and slot to store it in the mobile itself. It takes the best of the Note and brings it to the Galaxy S range, which is now more complete in that it offers the best of both worlds, but without Samsung having to maintain two premium mobile ranges.
This also allows Samsung to focus on a segment it leads strongly: foldables. According to TM Roh, foldables will grow into new categories and the company plans to add one or two new form factors in the next three years. Who knows, maybe we are talking about a mobile with two folds or even a rollable, only time will tell.
Given what we’ve seen, we can expect the Galaxy S Ultra to pick up the baton from the Note over the next few years. In this way, it would make sense that the Galaxy S and S+ would be the more “standard”, more “conventional” models, while the Ultra models would be the spiritual successors of the Note. And so it will be until, according to Samsung, that “other breakthrough” is found.