The Samsung Galaxy S20 has only just hit the market, but we’re already hearing rumors about its replacement, the Samsung Galaxy S21…
The Galaxy S20 might have only just arrived on the market, but that doesn’t mean that work isn’t actively underway on its successor, the Galaxy S21, which will get a release date in Q1 2021.
So what do we know so far? Not that much; but we do have some information about the Galaxy S21’s camera and its CPU. We’ll know A LOT more in the coming weeks and months, however, as leaks become more common. In the meantime, here’s everything that is currently known about the Samsung Galaxy S21. First, we’ll have a brief look at all the latest news.
Latest News Round-Up (Newest First)
June 10 – Samsung Will Use Samsung Display (Not BOE) For Galaxy S21 Panels
Back in April, word broke online that Samsung might be switching to BOE as its display supplier for its Galaxy S21 range. And this seemed a little odd because Samsung has its very own display arm, known as Samsung Display. So why did it flirt with moving to BOE? Simple: to cut costs. However, things didn’t play out quite as well as Samsung planned.
According to reports, a deal between Samsung and BOE was meant to have been inked by June. That didn’t happen, obviously, as BOE apparently did not pass Samsung’s quality tests. The latest information available claims that Samsung Display will manufacture and supply all panels for the Galaxy S21 range.
June 8 – Only Galaxy S21 Ultra Will Have 150MP Camera
If you’re after the best of the best, with respect to cameras aboard the incoming Galaxy S21 range, you’ll have to pony up for the top of the line model. According to reports, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will feature the most potent camera ever used inside a Samsung phone.
The report claims that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will feature a 150MP camera backed up by a 64MP telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide-angle, 12MP macro, and 3D ToF sensor. One thing the Galaxy S21 will not feature, however, is Samsung’s oft-ridiculed 100x Space Zoom feature. Guess that one died with the S20.
What’s In A Name – Galaxy S20 or Galaxy S30?
The first thing we need to consider is the name, however, because Samsung really switched things up in 2020, jumping from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20, a move no one really saw coming.
We have to assume that Samsung will keep this naming convention in place, as switching back to the Galaxy S12 wouldn’t make any sense. Also, the new number scheme matches the year of its release too, which is a nice touch that I think was probably the main motivation behind the switch.
For this reason, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the Galaxy S20’s successor will be called the Galaxy S21 and not the Galaxy S30, as some media outlets are reporting. Now we’ve got the name out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the rumored updates for the Galaxy S21…
Display Tech – “Seamless Display”
Whenever a new piece of technology is developed, be it a new Bluetooth standard or a new type of display, it has to be certified before it can be released on the consumer market. The upshot of this process, however, is that it tells us about incoming developments way before they’re officially announced.
Recently, Samsung Display got itself a new certification, one that relates to its new “Seamless Display” – AKA the new OLED panels that’ll be used inside the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Note 20. The new panels have passed through SGS certification, indicating they’re now being primed for mass production.
The Seamless Display panels are OLED with refresh rates of 90Hz and 120Hz, according to the SGS filing. According to reports, Samsung’s new Seamless Display tech will improve on current high refresh rate displays by as much as 20-50%; the panels will be smoother and more power-efficient which, in turn, will aid battery performance and overall usability.
Interestingly, Samsung’s new Seamless Display will feature both 90Hz and 120Hz as standard. The first new Samsung phone to use Seamless Display will be the Galaxy Note 20 which is expected to land inside the next couple of months. In 2021, the Galaxy S21 will launch inside Q1 and it too will use this new kind of OLED panel.
Under Screen Cameras (USC) Could Debut on Galaxy S21
Samsung Display is now working on developing and manufacturing under-screen camera (USC) panels. The first USC from Samsung Display is rumored to be debuting aboard the Galaxy Note 20 later on this year, but more conservative projections claim it will be saved for the release of the Galaxy S21 in 2021.
The point of a USC camera is that it negates the need for a notch or punch-hole on the front of the device. The front-facing camera, when not in use, is hidden away under the display. This is done via a mechanism that is activated as soon as the phone detects the camera is no longer needed.
Not too much is known about the mechanics of how this will work, or how well it functions in practice, but Samsung Display is now tooling up to produce these types of panel, so if Samsung’s USC doesn’t come to the Galaxy Note 20, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be present on the Galaxy S21.
150MP Rear Camera Aboard Galaxy S21
Samsung is apparently hard at work on a brand new 150MP “Nonacell” camera that it plans on launching aboard the Galaxy S21.
This camera unit, at almost 1in in size, is truly enormous and its inclusion on the rear of the Galaxy S21 would certainly require some design tinkering to ensure it doesn’t look, well… too bulbous!
OPPO, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and VIVO are all said to be leveraging Samsung’s new 150MP in 2021 as well. In addition to this, Xiaomi could actually beat Samsung to market with this new tech as well, as it is rumored to be releasing a phone that will use it inside Q4 2020.
“Since the sensor is said to rely on Nonacell technology,” notes SamMobile, “it should combine nine pixels into one to achieve higher light absorption. And because the sensor is said to have a resolution of 150-megapixels, the final shots should technically have a pixel count of around 16MP, as opposed to the ISOCELL Bright HM1 sensor which delivers 12MP shots.”
Galaxy S21 Will Use Snapdragon 875 Chipset
The Snapdragon 865 is 2020’s CPU of choice for high-performance Android flagships. In 2021, or very late 2020, Qualcomm will usher in an update to this platform called the Snapdragon 875. Like the 865, it will support 5G and support for advanced gaming and graphics. But there should be some big updates to its image signal processor (ISP) too in order to handle 150MP cameras that will become common in 2021.
TSMC will be making the Snapdragon 875. But unlike the 865, the 875 will be manufactured using TSMC’s 5nm process (the 865 was done using 7nm). If true, this would mean the Snapdragon 875 will feature 171.3 million transistors per square millimeter and this, in turn, will bring significant improvements to overall performance and efficiency.
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