back to article Samsung thinks about giving the Galaxy Note refresh a miss this year as semiconductor supplies run dry

Samsung Electronics is contemplating skipping this year's Galaxy Note flagship as the business grapples with an industry-wide shortage of semiconductors. Speaking at a shareholder meeting, co-CEO Koh Dong-jin bemoaned a "serious imbalance" in the supply chain which has yet to be resolved. "There's a serious imbalance in …

  1. ITsaproblem

    2021: introducing the Samsung Galaxy Not

    (Coming soon: the Not Lite, with a 50Ah battery)

  2. Sampler

    But also, what would they do?

    The S21 seems to just add Note 20 features tot he S lineup, what would they really add to the Note 20? The camera's already ridiculously over-spec'd and the chips's fast enough to do anything you want, we're already at the too much ram and storage options.

    I got my Note 20 last year to update on my Note 8 and that was mostly due to the battery starting to give on the old one. I think we're long past needed a device refresh on an annual basis due to technology improvements. When I first got a phone I was upgrading every six months as there was a definite improvement and real innovations all round, that slowly dropped to a year, two, and now it's not really improvements we're looking for; I honestly can't tell the difference when my phone is on 5g or 4g for the types of data use you have on a phone, side by side photo's look the same, they're just more annoying on the Note 20 as when you try to use them programs and platforms either don't understand the codec (even though the heif is turned off for compatibility) or the filesize is above their cut-off (which is most annoying on my car-share app, Car Next Door, that you have to upload condition photos pre and post hire and they will not accept the pictures).

    It almost feels like these increase in specs for the sake of looking new is a step backwards. So maybe a year or two out of the release cycle would be a good thing as device refreshes can be focused on actual improvements with usage to the user. Don't most contracts come as two years these days anyway?

    As a long time Note user (first being the 4) I would be sad to see it go as I don't think there's much else on the market that's close and would be much happier with a more sporadic release than being discontinued entirely, even if that affects the cost (given it's one of the more pricey phones to start with).

  3. BackToTheFuture

    But also, what would they do?

    Simple really - bring back the removable battery, last seen in my venerable Note 4, and a headphone socket, last seen in my current Note 9.

    Although that might require a radical shift by Samsung in the direction of giving the customer what they actually want.

    Actually, there are reports that the European Commission is contemplating a plan to force manufacturers of electronic goods to make their batteries replaceable, including phones, tablets and wireless headphones, largely on environmental concerns. Not holding my breath on that one emerging into the light though.

    1. Sampler

      That's not going to really happen though is it? The argument of integrating the battery is for the water resistance and given the downpour I was cycling through yesterday I'd much prefer the phone to be water proof and have to go to a service centre to replace the battery than to have to go to a service centre every time it got a soaking.

      I thought I'd be annoyed at the lack of a headphone jack, but honestly, not bothered me. Barely used the one in the 8 (especially after a misfortune with some hot sauce at a restaurant ruined a bag the phone was in and gunked up both it and the USB c port, leading to spotty performance) and haven't had any problems with the 20 not having one (especially as the free galaxy buds they bundled with it being pretty good, but there's always the usb-c to 3.5mm jack that came with it too somewhere..).

      As much as the eight could've had a longer life, like the 4 behind it, by being able to buy a new battery, it's not like I was never going to upgrade again and open access to a battery just isn't that much of a demand for most customers, especially now power banks are a thing, further diminishing the requirement of being able to swap one out.

      1. BackToTheFuture

        Hear what you're saying, Sampler.

        I remember at the time that one of the manufacturers' explanations for non-replaceable batteries was better water resistance - but we all know the real reason is profit maximisation for the manufacturers because when the battery dies, most people will ditch the phone and replace it, especially when Apple and Samsung make it very difficult to replace the battery in the first place without damaging it. And with many millions of phones out there this does represent a mammoth negative impact on the planet.

        Ditching the headphone jack - all sorts of pathetic rationales were made too for this (interfering with haptic feedback? hoho - more space for a bigger battery - oh, purlese) - but seeing how many billions Apple made from their wireless earbuds, Samsung decided they'd join that lucrative bandwagon too. There's nothing good about wireless earbuds for me - heavy and uncomfortable, easy to lose, expensive to replace, worse sound quality than cheaper wired headphones, plus they look ridiculous on a lot of people (me included). And I have some expensive wired earbuds which I'm not going to ditch and which are quite capable of distinguishing between inferior bluetooth v wired sound. And bluetooth buds in use further drain the phone battery and become non-functional when their own tiny battery charge expires. That ain't progress.

        Having a couple of cheap spare batteries for my Note 4 available meant I never had to worry about long commute times (I vaguely remember those (!)), flight delays (ditto) or trailing charger wires for people to trip up over at work, and I've seen people almost come to blows arguing over who's using a charging point on a train. It's just so easy and hassle free reaching for a new battery from my shirt pocket. Similarly out hiking in the wilds. Now I have to carry a power bank that's as big as the phone, heavier and remember to charge that too. That ain't progress either.

        Incidentally, my Note 4, for which few claims of water resistance were made at the time, has survived years of being used for GPS tracking on the hills in all sorts of wet weather, as well as emerging unscathed from a number of major trauma office events involving every beverage known to man, and is still going strong. If it had a sealed battery I would have had to ditch it years ago. The technology has moved on, and I simply don't accept the notion that it's not possible to have a fully waterproof phone with a replaceable battery or headphone socket.

        It would be good to have a choice again, so both you and I could be happy.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          There were - and indeed there are - waterproof phones with swappable batteries. Waterproofing is not the issue.

          If you make a swappable battery then you're encouraging people to carry them around in pockets and handbags. Therefore you need to make sure that it is not easily punctured by keys or pens, (because 'Samsung Battery Burnt My House Down' headlines aren't the best publicity). So, you need to encase the battery in a shell, much as camera batteries are. 2mm of plastic shell over the surface of a battery equates to a fair volume of plastic that is useless whilst the battery is inside the phone. A fair volume of useless plastic that could otherwise just be battery.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      All the current Samsung phones have removable batteries - it just takes some tools, patience and isopropyl alcohol. If you mean a swappable battery, well, that's currently seen on the Samsung XCover Pro.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        The XCover Pro also has a headphone socket.

        However, the idea that removing the headphone socket on Brand X phones causes the user to buy Brand X Bluetooth headphones is flimsy at best.

  4. BackToTheFuture

    "However, the idea that removing the headphone socket on Brand X phones causes the user to buy Brand X Bluetooth headphones is flimsy at best."

    No, but they'll have to use someone's brand of wireless buds, and many will go for the manufacturers' own brand first - looking at you, Apple fans, with those weird white stick things poking out of your ears. And look at the growth market that's been created by removing the headphone socket: (source Statista - "Sales of true wireless hearables (i.e. non-wired headphones) were forecast to increase by 110 million units (in 2019) and stand at 230 million units worldwide by 2020."

    The Samsung Xcover Pro looks like a great option although in a different and cheaper spec range to the Note series - the original post related to what Samsung might do differently in a future Note to separate it out from its currently similarly specced high end phones.

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