The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is very much Schrödinger’s smartphone, simultaneously existing and not existing.
It was first leaked in April, before a June report claimed it had been cancelled due to a lack of Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chips. Then it was back on again, appearing by name on the company’s website, showing up in multiple Geekbench benchmarks, and even popping up by mistake in a Samsung Instagram post.
But it was nowhere to be seen at the company’s recent Unpacked event, and now it looks like it’s back to being dead again. Independently, three leakers with excellent track records — FrontTron, IceUniverse and Sleepy Kuma — have claimed that the Galaxy S21 FE won’t see the light of day next month as planned.
The reason is apparently three fold. First, the shortage of Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chips hasn’t let up, and secondly the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is selling well. Given the latter handset also uses the former chips, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Samsung would consider killing the S21 FE to ensure supply for a phone it’s extremely keen to see do well.
Thirdly and finally, there are reports that Samsung is planning on going early with the Galaxy S22 series, with a possible unveiling in December 2021. If that’s the case, it would be a bit mad for the company to be pushing the ‘Fan Edition’ of the S21, possibly drawing away buyers from the new and shiny.
Giving more credence to the leakers’ hunches is Samsung itself which, as SamMobile spotted, has begun removing references to the S21 FE from its various international support sites.
So, for now at least, it looks like it’s dead. Maybe it will be reworked as the S22 FE in a year’s time, given the reported similarity in looks between the S21 and S22. To me, that would be a sensible move for Samsung: wedged between the foldables and the S22, the S21 FE would just cannibalise the company’s own high-end market share. The last thing the company wants is a cheaper offering upstaging its desirable flagships, after all.