The truth about Samsung canceling the Note: Galaxy S22 Ultra canceled instead

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
We've heard about a million rumors about Samsung's "canceled" Galaxy Note 21 flagship...

Was it going to be canceled? Was it going to be delayed? Well, it finally seems like we have our answer. All signs, or rather leaks, tell us that Samsung's Note lineup is now dead. Done. Note coming back.

However, it turns out this is far from the truth. Wait! What?! According to Jon Prosser, Samsung's Unpacked event for the Galaxy S22 series will take place on February 8, 2022. The S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra will be available for pre-order immediately, and you'd be able to purchase one from February 18.

Both the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ are said to finally adopt symmetrical, iPhone-like bezels. Even better, these will be noticeably thinner than on Apple's iPhone. No other major design changes are expected.

Get it right! The S22 Ultra is canceled, not the Note 21 Ultra

However, it's the Galaxy S22 Ultra that we're interested in the most! Why? Well, because the S22 Ultra is now Samsung's Note flagship! As you can see by the very real-looking photos posted by Jon Prosser, Samsung's top "S" flagship will now have:

  • A boxy design
  • A built-in S Pen

This is literally what used to make the Note a Note. So, yes - it's really the Galaxy S22 Ultra that's been canceled, and not the Note! Despite carrying the "S" series branding, this phone was clearly meant to be the unreleased Galaxy Note 21 Ultra.

Of course, since the Galaxy S22 Ultra will be released in Q1 of 2022, this will give it the expected processor bump to a Snapdragon 898 and Exynos 2200, which is a great thing. It's safe to assume that if the S22 Ultra was released as the Note 21 Ultra in August 2021, we would have gotten the overclocked Snapdragon 888+, which is practically the same as the regular Snapdragon 888, which itself is superior to the Exynos 2100 (unfortunately) offered in most markets.

But apart from that logical chip upgrade, there's absolutely nothing that can convince me the S22 Ultra isn't the canceled Galaxy Note 21 Ultra. In fact, even the camera system on the S22 Ultra is an incremental upgrade over the S21 Ultra, which is exactly what Samsung would have done if it kept the Note around.

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The Galaxy S22 Ultra is expected to come with new sensors for the 3x and 10x zoom cameras, but not real upgrades for the main and ultra-wide shooters:

  • 108MP main camera
  • 12MP ultra-wide
  • 10MP 3X telephoto (new Sony sensor)
  • 10MP 10X telephoto (new Sony sensor)

Why is Samsung merging the Note and S-series?

Fine! With that out of the way… why is Samsung doing this?! Why is the South Korean company killing one of the unique smartphone lines for the sake of merging it with the "more basic" S-series? There are about three valid arguments to look at. Let's do it...

The Note was for niche users, and it didn’t sell well

Sales. It's a public secret that Android flagships haven't been doing very well in the past five years - at least when it comes to sales. Despite the overall influx of innovation driven by brands like Huawei (until the ban), Xiaomi, and Samsung, and  despite the hype around the various Pro and Ultra Android flagships, it's the mid-range and budget Android phones which contribute to a much bigger number of sales.

Samsung's situation, in particular, isn't very bright either. The Galaxy S9 was the last Galaxy flagship to enter the top 10 best-selling flagships. Despite the brilliant Note 20 Ultra and S21 series, Samsung wasn't even close to making the top 10 best-selling phones list.

The Galaxy Z Fold is the future of the Note

Of course, another (more obvious) reason for Samsung to cancel the Note series is the fact that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 now supports the S Pen. Sure, this one isn't integrated into the Fold's body, and you have to carry it in a separate case, but this shall change sooner or later.

I won't be surprised if Samsung manages to fit an S Pen into the Galaxy Z Fold 4. If not, the Z Fold 5 must be the one to make this happen. This will eventually allow Samsung to remove the S Pen from the S23/S24 Ultra, and go back to "normal". In fact, this gives Samsung enough time to test the grounds and see if people want an S Pen in the "S" series or not.

Apple - of course, Apple...

And last but probably not least, Apple's iPhone, which usually comes out in September, is a phone that can overshadow any other device. It's the iPhone. It's just a given.

So, I won't be surprised if Samsung is trying to avoid competing with the iPhone by essentially moving the Note launch from August to February. That's a smart move! Samsung isn't the only company that seems to be chased away by Apple's scary popular iPhones.

Other major smartphone-makers like Xiaomi and OnePlus also launch their phones in Q1. Moreover. it doesn't look like we're getting a OnePlus "T" flagship this year, but we'll discuss this topic in depth in a future story.

In the end...

Ultimately, I think it's safe to say that it's the S22 Ultra phone that has actually been canceled. Yes, the name remains, but the spirit and literally the design of the S22 Ultra screams "Note".

I think that's a smart pilot study on Samsung's side. The "Note" name was always associated with a niche range of features like the boxy design and S Pen, and therefore also associated with a niche user base. If you want to sell as many phones as possible, putting youtself in a box of any kind, isn't the smartest thing you can do.

Now, when the Note carries the "S" name, it's more likely that people will simply look at the S22 Ultra as a phone with added value, thanks to that S Pen, which wasn't there last year.

All that being said, we're expecting the S22 Ultra to come with a price tag to match. $1,299 instead of $1,199, which was the price of the S21 Ultra. Are you ready to pay a premium for Samsung's S-Note mashup, or is Samsung setting itself up for another sales failure?

Remember, if the rumored price for the S22 Ultra turns out to be true:

Let's wish Samsung good luck because they might need it...

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