Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S21 FE is the latest victim of the global semiconductor shortage, according to a report from the Korean outlet Maeil. This silicon shortage could delay the S21 FE launch for several months, or even force Samsung to substitute the device’s flagship Snapdragon 888 processor with a slower Exynos chip.
For those who are out of the loop, Samsung’s FE or “Fan Edition” series is an affordable alternative to the flagship S-series. Last year’s Galaxy S20 FE packed the same processor as the standard S20, but featured slightly stripped-down hardware to reach an attractive $700 price tag.
Leaks and rumors suggest that Samsung will follow the same game plan with its upcoming S21 FE. It should feature the same Snapdragon 888 processor that’s in the standard S21—but only if Samsung can navigate this chip shortage. Samsung might substitute the Snapdragon 888 chip with a slower Exynos processor, likely the Exynos 2100, to avoid delaying the phone. (It’s unclear whether this substitution would happen in select markets or on a global scale.)
If Samsung doesn’t substitute the S21 FE’s chip, then it will probably delay the phone’s release until Q4 of this year (between October and December). That’s several months after the expected August release date. Of course, Samsung is probably trying its hardest not to delay the phone, as it’s supposed to be one of the highlights of this August’s Unpacked event (Samsung may not release a Note device this year, so it needs to S21 FE to make Unpacked feel more substantial).
Coincidentally, this Maeil report dropped the same day that Android Headlines leaked a new S21 FE promotional image (shown above) This promo image seems to back up a previous leak by Evan Blass, which showed the Galaxy S21 FE’s sleek design in several colorways (the leaked navy blue color is missing from this promotional shot, though).
Do you think that Samsung should delay the S21 FE or throw in a weaker chip? As Tech Radar points out, Samsung only sells Exynos phones in select markets (such as India), but the S21 FE is expected to run the Snapdragon 888 in its global release. For this reason, a lot of people are excited for the S21 FE, as it might be their only opportunity to use a Samsung phone with Snapdragon silicon. Switching out the Snapdragon 888 for a weaker Exynos chip would be very disappointing for this reason.