Samsung might be planning to kill off the Galaxy FE series and it’s likely the best decision, in addition to axing its Re-Newed program. The smartphone market is highly competitive and despite flagships now crossing the $1000 mark, manufacturers know there is a market for those who want a flagship that doesn’t cost a fortune. So it’s no surprise that several brands have some form of “lite” version of their flagships which retain certain features but also come with a handful of tradeoffs to make them affordable.
For example, OnePlus has its OnePlus R line which includes the OnePlus 9R, Oneplus 9RT, and OnePlus 10R. Xiaomi also has its T-series which is usually announced in the second half of the year. Google, on the other hand, has the Pixel a-series. The latest model is the Pixel 6a and it looks to offer a Pixel 6-like experience at a cheaper price.
The next phone in the Galaxy FE series is expected to be the Galaxy S22 FE, and while it is not expected to launch before the end of the year at the earliest, it might not come at all, according to SamMobile. In spite of earlier reports that Samsung may be considering a MediaTek chipset for the next iteration, no evidence of the device’s existence has been found yet, which seems unusual if the phone is actually going to be released later this year. The source also mentions the likelihood of Samsung pulling the curtains on the FE series in general. In truth, it makes sense for Samsung to end the series as well as its Galaxy Re-Newed program considering it has no need for either.
The Previous Year’s Flagship Is The Flagship Killer
A Galaxy FE smartphone is supposed to be an affordable variant of the Galaxy S series flagship of that year, offering similar features while cutting enough corners to keep the price low. The Re-Newed program, is Samsung’s way of selling refurbished phones. A Re-Newed phone is one that was previously owned but traded in. Samsung wipes the device, repairs any defects, replaces the battery with a new one, and assigns the phone with a new IMEI. It is also packed in a brand new box with an indication that it is a renewed device before it is listed for sale at a lower price than its launch price. Unfortunately, this lower price tag isn’t always tempting enough to get folks to pick one up over the newer phone. Take the Re-Newed Galaxy S21 Plus for example. It is priced at $850 while the brand new Galaxy S22 Plus sells for $899 (discounted).
The goal of the Galaxy FE and Re-Newed program is for Samsung to offer its flagships at a cheaper price. However, it doesn’t need to jump through so many hoops to do this. Instead, it can simply take a leaf out of Apple’s book. When Apple launches a new iPhone in its number series, it keeps at least one model from the previous generation in production. This model gets a permanent price cut, thus allowing those who couldn’t afford it at launch, or those looking for a new and affordable phone, to pick up the device. The iPhone 11 is an example of this as it is still available for purchase despite the release of the iPhone 13 series. All Samsung has to do is follow a similar pattern — keep the cheapest model from the previous Galaxy S series smartphones in production, announce a price cut that puts a significant gap between it and the cheapest model in the new series, and voila, it has an affordable flagship.
As an example, Samsung should keep the Galaxy S22 in production when it launches the Galaxy S23 series next year, and announce a price cut that brings the cost down to $549/$599 while selling the new Galaxy S23 for $799. When the Galaxy S24 series then launches in 2024, it should discontinue the Galaxy S22 but keep the Galaxy S23 in production with a price cut, selling it alongside the new phones. This strategy will likely save Samsung money and resources that would have been spent on a new phone. Also, if being honest, a one-year-old flagship is a more than capable device, and with Samsung’s promise of four years of OS upgrades for all its flagships, a one-year-old flagship would still be eligible for three OS upgrades, which is still more impressive than what many manufacturers offer.