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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE leaked launch date risks it getting lost next to Galaxy S22

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE color-changed
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE from 2020 (Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is rumored to be debuting at CES 2022. That’s just a month ahead of when we expect the Samsung Galaxy S22 to be unveiled, and I think it means the Galaxy S21 FE is set to get lost in the inevitably loud noise surrounding the company's next flagship.

It feels like the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is being relegated to a smaller launch, and that may mean the company doesn't push it as much as if it were to launch it in 2021 as it was originally rumored to do.

That, paired with months of delays, is a big shame for those who have been eagerly awaiting Samsung's next cheaper alternative.

Smartphone launches are designed to happen in one big event, but often modern reveals are much longer. We often see teases in the weeks beforehand with invites to the big event landing soon before the reveal, plus there are often months of leaks ahead of time getting many phone fans excited about the next-gen smartphones. 

We’ve already heard tons about the Samsung Galaxy S22 series, and we’re beginning to get a full picture of what to expect from the next flagship phone. We may even have a slightly better idea of what to expect from that phone than we do for the Galaxy S21 FE.

It may get lost at CES

Samsung hasn’t confirmed this January 2022 launch for its Galaxy S21 FE, but multiple sources have told SamMobile to expect the new smartphone to debut at CES 2022. That show is set to run from January 5 until January 8 next year. 

We’re inclined to believe that this is set to happen, and it matches Samsung's previous behavior as well. The Consumer Electronics Show 2020 saw the company introduce the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

(Image credit: Future)

You'd be forgiven for not realizing those phones existed as the company didn't make as much fanfare over these products as it did for its flagship devices that year, such as the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20.

Neither of those Lite handsets from 2020 made a big impact during the launch event, and it feels like something similar may happen with the S21 FE if it does debut at CES 2022. It'll be another minor launch during a much bigger event.

This doesn't seem to be in Samsung's control, though. The company has reportedly delayed this smartphone multiple times, and Samsung even said it had initially planned a launch for October 2021 before cancelling it.

It's thought the global ship shortage was part of the reason for the delays, which is thought to be the same issue why we didn't see a Samsung Galaxy Note 21 this year. Instead, the company has been focusing on its Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3 and existing models.

That's a shame, but I'm still disappointed that the company doesn't seem to be prioritizing its cheaper alternative to the Galaxy S21 series.

Another minor loss

Another casualty of this delay is the company's slicker naming system that it introduced in the 2020 series of Galaxy S devices. This isn't a big deal for everyone, but it's one thing I'm sad the company will lose if the Galaxy S21 FE debuts at CES.

When Samsung adopted the Galaxy S20 moniker for its 2020 handsets it made a fresh start with its naming structure and it allowed for an easier to understand process.

If the smartphone has the number 20 in the title it was introduced in 2020. If it’s part of the S21 series, it means it debuted in 2021. That’s no longer the case if the Galaxy S21 FE arrives in January 2022.

That won't impact the average person who buys the Galaxy S21 FE, but this is just another minor casualty of the global chip shortage.

James Peckham

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.