Yes, the 5G-enabled Galaxy S21 FE is in the news again, but somehow, Samsung is still not ready for an official announcement, let alone a commercial release of a phone that should have really made its debut months ago.
For once, however, odds are you will not be disappointed or bored out of your mind by what you're about to hear, which is something that's never been reported before as far as we know. Suspected, yes, but not explicitly rumored, anticipated, or confirmed.
That's right, the almost always reliable folks over at SamMobile can confirm the S21 FE 5G already runs Android 12 in its pre-release form, which all but guarantees that's the OS version the long overdue high-end handset will see daylight on... eventually.
But if Samsung does decide to do that, there are some possible consequences that may not make Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra owners very happy. Specifically, the S21 FE 5G would technically fall under the company's three-year policy for major software updates, thus looking at near-certain Android 13, 14, and yes, Android 15 promotions down the line.
The S21 FE could join Samsung's rapidly expanding One UI 4 family soon
That would be a pretty weird distinction and a major reason to choose the Galaxy S21 Fan Edition over its "regular", Plus, or Ultra-branded cousins, at least until the S22 trio enters the picture with Android 12 pre-loaded and a similar three-year support pledge.
A simple solution to this "problem" would obviously be to extend the S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra update window in order to cover Android 15 as well, with the (unwanted) alternative probably being to reconsider the S21 FE launch specs, roll back to Android 11 and then deliver an Android 12-based One UI 4.0 goodie pack shortly thereafter.
That's definitely a theory worth keeping in mind when you consider Samsung's troubled Android 12 rollout for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 5G. For the time being, however, the safest bet is to expect the Galaxy S21 FE 5G to come out with Android 12 right off the bat in (relatively) stable form.
Excitement levels are growing... slightly
Let's face it, pre-installed Android 12 software could be one of the very few key S21 FE strengths over many of the best budget 5G phones available right now.
Initially meant to go official all the way back in August, this bad boy looks somewhat outdated, with almost exactly the same design as the base Galaxy S21 5G, almost the same 6.5-inch 120Hz Super AMOLED screen as 2020's Galaxy S20 FE 5G, and a Snapdragon 888 processor (at least in certain markets) that's on the verge of becoming passé as well.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that the recently rumored $699 US starting price is simply not low enough, at least not in a 128GB storage configuration also expected to pack a modest (by 2021 flagship standards) 6GB RAM count.
With a very familiar-sounding 12 + 8 + 12MP triple rear-facing camera setup and 4,500mAh battery also tipped by multiple trusted sources, the Galaxy S21 Fan Edition 5G definitely needs a discount before launch to realistically go after Samsung's 9 million+ units sales goal for 2022. But if last-minute software changes are possible, why couldn't something like that happen in the eleventh hour too? Call us naive, but that's what keeps our excitement at a reasonable level.