The past years have seen Samsung shift its announcement and launch dates to adjust to market trends and needs, or at least that’s the company’s official line. Next year, however, Samsung could make its biggest adjustment yet, launching the Galaxy S21 series a whole month and a half early. This has naturally sparked some speculation on why it has made such a bold move and, unsurprisingly, Apple was named as one major reason. It turns out, it isn’t the only one.
Reports put Huawei in survival mode because of US trade and business restrictions, restrictions that also affect semiconductor and components businesses including Samsung’s. While the embattled Chinese company has stockpiled parts in preparation for what could be its darkest months, analysts estimate that those supplies will only last Huawei until early 2021.
Almost in a case of “hit them while their down”, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Samsung’s unprecedented timetable was designed to grab Huawei’s market share, or at least what’s left of it. Considering Huawei briefly broke Samsung’s record as the world’s number 1 smartphone maker, this feels almost like payback.
Samsung was also reportedly trying to spite Apple or, at the very least, cut the iPhone 12’s time in the spotlight short. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, Apple launched its 2020 flagships later than usual. By launching the Galaxy S21 just two to three months after, Samsung may be hoping it will be able to at least steal the market’s attention away from Apple and Huawei by January 2021.
Samsung’s desire to one-up its rivals, however, could backfire and end up hurting it instead. The short iteration period means that the Galaxy S21 might not be the sensational flagship its predecessors have been. Given how the Galaxy S series seems to be having trouble selling for the past two or so generations, Samsung might be sorely tempting fate with this strategy.