Samsung confirms 'more accessible' foldables are in the works for 2021

Oh, and expect to see the S Pen pop up in more places, too.

Chris Velazco/Engadget

Samsung seems to have weathered 2020 without too many issues, and with the year nearly over, the company has started talking about its path forward. In a blog post published this morning, Samsung smartphone chief TM Roh looked back at the year that was, but -- more importantly -- he also confirmed a few key updates to the company's mobile strategy going into the new year.

Perhaps his juiciest confirmation is that Samsung plans to bring some of the Galaxy Note's "most well-loved features" to other devices in the Galaxy line-up. That's the strongest indicator yet that one of the company's upcoming flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones will play nice Samsung's S Pen -- a shift long rumored in enthusiast circles, and one that could potentially spell the end for high-end Galaxy Note line. Coincidentally, Roh's remarks dovetail with reports suggesting the premium Galaxy S21 Ultra will feature S Pen support, but will not house the S Pen internally -- it'll be up to users to figure out where to stow it. If true, that's far less elegant a solution than what the Galaxy Note offers, so eulogies for Samsung's pioneering line of phablets may be a bit premature.

Roh also confirmed Samsung's plans to expand its portfolio of foldable devices, which only makes sense considering the company's momentum in 2020. Back in February -- at one of the last in-person launch events of the year -- Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Flip, a clamshell foldable that proved to be more powerful and more affordable than Motorola's Razr. Then, in September, Samsung released the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which remedied many of the issues that plagued the first-generation Galaxy Fold and debuted to strong acclaim. Going into 2021, the company is reportedly planning as many as four new foldables — two Z Folds and two Z Flips, naturally — signaling an even more pronounced push to establish these devices as the future of the smartphone.

Samsung has established itself as the early frontrunner in the foldables race, but one thing has kept adoption from ramping up more fully so far: price. Currently, even the least expensive foldable generally costs as much as a premium flagship phone, but that may soon change. Roh specifically noted the company aims to make foldables "more accessible" in 2021, suggesting that Samsung will produce at least one cheaper model to drive growth in the coming months.

While this the first time Samsung has publicly acknowledged these plans, they are -- unfortunately -- pretty skimpy on the details. We won't have to wait too much more longer for proper answers, though: Samsung will be holding a virtual keynote as part of CES 2021, and all signs point to a proper (albeit online) Unpacked on the final day of the show.