There have been rumors about the Galaxy S21 launch date for some time now, and we're hearing even more (reliable) rumors stating that it'll happen in early January 2021.
Samsung typically launches the Galaxy S devices in February at an event a week or two ahead of Mobile World Congress. But where MWC has been pushed out to June, due to the global pandemic, Samsung is looking to do it earlier. There are likely many other reasons as to why Samsung is doing it earlier too. Like the fact it has two foldable lines and two flagship lines to hold events for.
More than likely, the Galaxy S21 launch will be another virtual event. It doesn't look like COVID-19 is going to be slowing down between now and January. So it'll be a virtual one.
There's no exact date set, yet for the Galaxy S21 announcement, so this could be happening around the time of CES, or possibly a bit later on. If it does happen around CES, it would be the biggest phone launch at CES in nearly a decade.
Expect more frequent Unpacked events in 2021
If this fall has taught us anything, it's to expect more frequent virtual Unpacked events from Samsung. Now that it is unable to do in-person events at huge venues like the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, it'll do more virtual events.
This is very smart of Samsung, as it can spread out its launch events a bit more. Without giving us everything all at once. This year, we saw the Galaxy Note 20 series in August, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in early September and Galaxy S20 FE in late September. Expect something similar next year. Likely the Galaxy S21 in January, Galaxy Z Flip 2 in February and so forth.
An earlier Galaxy S21 launch is likely also due to the lagging sales of the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 devices. Launching devices that cost over a grand, during a pandemic, was likely not a good idea.