The Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones cost a pretty penny depending on whom you ask, but a new report suggests that Samsung intends to bring two more affordable flagships to market sometime in the near future.
Two new affordable flagships: Galaxy S10/S11 Lite, Galaxy Note 10 Lite
The two new more budget-friendly flagships bear model numbers SM-N770F and SM-G770F. The SM-N770F likely refers to the Galaxy Note series (the "N" in the model number stands for the Galaxy Note line) and the SM-G770F refers to the other flagship series, the Galaxy S line. Since these devices will be more affordable, they could come bearing the monikers "Galaxy S10/S11 Lite" and "Galaxy Note 10 Lite" when they debut in Europe and Asia.
Galaxy S10/S11 Lite = Galaxy A91
The Galaxy S10/S11 Lite would have the same specs as the Galaxy A91. What this means is that interested buyers are looking at a 6.71-inch display with Full HD+ (1080p) resolution, Qualcomm's octa-core Snapdragon 855 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 32MP front camera, a triple-camera setup (48MP/12MP/5MP configuration), with a 4,500mAh battery running Android 10. These specs suggest that the Galaxy S10/S11 Lite will cost something pretty, too, especially considering that the most affordable Galaxy S version right now is the Galaxy S10e, which costs $750 USD in the US.
Galaxy S10/Galaxy S11 Lite
The Galaxy S10/S11 Lite would have the same display size as the current Galaxy S10 5G model and have the same battery capacity as the Galaxy S10 5G, suggesting that the new "Lite" phone in question will bear the Galaxy S10 moniker (though one can never be absolutely sure of these things). The 256GB storage configuration would be cut in half though on the Galaxy S Lite model, with only 128GB offered. With 8GB of RAM along for the ride, it appears as though there's only so much price-cutting Samsung plans to do with the upcoming Galaxy S Lite model.
Galaxy Note 10 Lite
There's no word on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, but to see those specs would be interesting indeed. The new Galaxy Note 10 features 12GB of RAM, and it's likely that Samsung would also provide something of an 8GB RAM model with 128GB of storage as it will do with the Galaxy S10/S11 Lite. There are many things about the Galaxy Note 10 Lite that will remain the same, but the exception being that, unlike the Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, and the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G models, Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Lite would arrive with Android 10 pre-installed out of the box.
Some would ask, "why did Samsung wait until now to prepare affordable flagships? Well, it appears as though Samsung's change in strategy this year was to make more money. There was a time when the Galaxy S series didn't cost near $1,000, when you could pay $750 USD and get the best Galaxy S phone on the market. Now, $750 still gets you a flagship but with compromises.
The Galaxy Note line has always been Samsung's most expensive, but now, Samsung has decided to give SD card storage to customers willing to pay more than the $1,000 price tag for the Galaxy Note than in years past.
But Samsung also wants to win the smartphone race, and with companies charging the same thing for their phones as Samsung now (the $1200 phone is a reality, inconceivable years ago when the Galaxy S5 launched, for example), Samsung has to find a way to stay competitive. And price is definitely an easy way to win a competitive edge.
Customers vote with their wallets, and some customers don't want 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in their phones because 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is already more than they'll ever use or need. When you're on the front lines in tech or a tech enthusiast, it's easy to forget about everyday customers who want a phone with decent specs that runs well. Samsung has a tech enthusiast heartbeat, which explains why the company launched its Galaxy Note Edge years ago and now its $2,000 Galaxy Fold, but Samsung can't afford to forget those everyday customers who think $1,000 for a phone is simply too much.
Some things to remember
With these two new "affordable flagships," it's always a good idea to never get too excited about them. First, these new smartphones will debut in Europe and Asia. There's no word on whether or not Samsung will bring them to other territories, such as the US. With the Galaxy S10/S11 Lite bearing the same specs as the Galaxy A91, it's perhaps a sign that the A91 may not arrive in the US at all — and that the Galaxy S Lite model will take its place for American customers.
Next, the 8GB RAM, 128GB storage configuration suggests that Samsung will only cut so many financial corners. The Galaxy S10e's most affordable model comes with 6GB of RAM, matching Samsung's Galaxy Note 9, and it would be nice to see something along those lines with a price tag below $900 arrive here in the US. Samsung may retain these flagships for Europe and Asia because their price points are higher than they are in the US. A $1000 price tag here may be too expensive for US customers, but it's likely more affordable than say, a $1,400 phone in other parts of the world. International customers may be the aim, who pay more for their phones out-of-pocket than American customers (though they pay far less on their wireless bills than American customers).
And even expecting this may be too much for Samsung. After all, it'd be nice to see Samsung launch a $400 Galaxy Note Lite that would compete with the LG Stylo and win over Stylo customers who want to live on a smaller budget than Samsung is used to, but there's no telling with Samsung. Whether Samsung intends to launch one here or keep it exclusive to certain regions is anyone's guess, but we'll know when Samsung finally launches these two affordable flagships.
When all the chips are down, companies want to make money, but some money, even on a cheaper flagship, is better than none. Let's hope Samsung doesn't mind lowering its expectations for the sake of loyal customers whose pockets can't keep the new price pace.