Samsung is set to update its Galaxy smartphone line about a month ahead of its typical launch schedule.
The company, which typically updates new Galaxy S phones in February, is hosting a press conference on Thursday to show off new 5G-capable flagship devices and Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds that may better compete with Apple AirPods.
If the product leaks are to be believed, we’ll see three smartphones in varying sizes – a 6.2-inch Galaxy S21, 6.7-inch S21+ and 6.8-inch Ultra – featuring an AI-powered camera, faster processor and a bolder design with new colors. The premium Ultra model, expected to be the star of the presentation, will likely come with four rear cameras – compared to three back cameras on the other devices – feature a bright super high-resolution display (3200 x 1400 resolution) and support the S Pen stylus used in its Note series phones.
Meanwhile, Samsung is expected to introduce a premium version of its wireless earbuds called the Galaxy Buds Pro with enhanced noise cancellation at $50 less than the $249 Apple AirPods Pro.
Samsung’s annual Unpacked event usually coincides with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February – the first major tech event that was canceled last year due to the pandemic – but this year the company has moved it up to land on the last day of this year’s all-digital CES consumer tech conference.
The product launch event comes at a time when growth in the smartphone market has become saturated as people hold onto their devices longer. To make matters more challenging, smartphone makers like Samsung must convince consumers to pay for pricey products at a time of economic uncertainty due to the pandemic.
Many analysts expected 2020 to be the year of 5G, but the technology is still in its early stages of deployment and costs remain high. It’s possible Samsung could reduce the prices of its Galaxy S21 devices, but they’ll likely stay similar to Apple’s $799 starting price for the iPhone 12. Earlier this month, Xiaomi was the first major smartphone brand to announce a 5G smartphone below $250.
Beyond the phones, it’s possible we could also see a few surprises, including a long rumored Tile-like tracker that attaches to items like car keys to find them if they go missing.