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Samsung mulls delaying next 'fan edition' phone in light of semiconductor shortage

'Nothing had been determined', says phone giant

Samsung is said to be considering delaying the launch of this year's Galaxy S21 FE sub-flagship due to the ongoing shortage of semiconductor components.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the company said "nothing had been determined" as to the fate of the device. Earlier today, Korean media reported the production of the phone had been suspended in the face of a shortage of Qualcomm chips.

Samsung's FE phones, which stands for "fan edition", have been positioned as a cheaper version of that year's flagship. The company introduced the line in 2017 as a way to salvage something from the wreckage of the pyrotechnic Galaxy Note 7, an otherwise decent phone hampered by a propensity to explode.

It has since followed up with the Galaxy S20 FE, which we reviewed last year, as well as the Galaxy Tab S7 FE. In the case of the former, Samsung achieved the lower retail price by using less powerful camera sensors, and replacing the premium glass backplate with one made from a cheaper plastic.

Samsung had previously said it may delay the introduction of its next Galaxy Note phablet, describing the shortage of chips as "severe."

Demand for semiconductors soared during the pandemic from myriad industries and product types, from networking gear through to automobiles.

In April, Micron CEO Sanjay Mehotra warned of a severe shortage of DRAM, which is expected to worsen as the year progresses. Meanwhile, games consoles and high-end graphics cards remain scarce. Some industry experts, most notably TSMC CEO C C Wei, have said this drought will likely continue into 2023.

Both industry and government have responded to this crisis by throwing new investment at the problem, with Samsung and TSMC planning new US facilities. But with this capacity not expected to come online by 2023 at the earliest, it'll take some time until supply starts to meet demand. ®

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