Samsung says it may skip the Galaxy Note this year

Samsung Electronic's co-CEO said there's a "severe imbalance" in global chip supply.


Samsung has always been committed to its large, pen-centric Galaxy Note lineup, even when things went very wrong. Late last year, however, rumors surfaced that Samsung might not release a Galaxy Note device this year, and now the company has confirmed that. During Samsung's annual shareholder's meeting, co-CEO Koh Dong-jin said that the company is grappling with a shortage of chips and that it "might be difficult" to release a Note model in the second half of 2021 as it had planned, Bloomberg has reported.

"There’s a serious imbalance in supply and demand of chips in the IT sector globally," Koh said. "Despite the difficult environment, our business leaders are meeting partners overseas to solve these problems."

Samsung Securities analyst MS Hwang told Bloomberg that a big part of the problem for Samsung is a shortage of Qualcomm chips produced by Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC. "The tightened supply of Qualcomm AP chips produced by TSMC is affecting everybody except Apple,” he said.

Samsung Electronics, which is the world's second-largest chip manufacturer next to TSMC, is having its own problems. The company was forced to shut down some of its US Texas plants due to rolling blackouts, squeezing an already tight supply of chips, and is still not up to full production. That might not directly affect its flagship lineups, but it's likely to have a ripple effect on supply during a period when smartphone and PC demand is sky-high due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Koh didn't tie the possibility of skipping a year for the Note directly to the chip shortage. However, he noted that "it could be a burden to unveil two flagship models in a year, so it might be difficult to release [a] Note model in 2H [2021]." He did seem to confirm that Samsung isn't giving up on the model, though. "The timing of Note model launch can be changed but we seek to release a Note model next year," he said.