Galaxy S22 Ultra is surprisingly popular, and Samsung may cancel a phone to prioritize it

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sits at the top of our list of the best smartphones, but maybe it's too good, because it sounds like another Samsung phone was canceled just so that the company could build more Ultra units.

This comes from Korean website The Elec, which published a report on the fate of the Samsung Galaxy S22 FE, based on information from sources in the supply chain. This upcoming Android phone was expected to be a budget version of the Galaxy S22, but some rumors say that it's been canceled.

According to the site, the Galaxy S22 FE definitely has been canceled, and the S22 Ultra is to blame – Samsung has apparently decided to prioritize the Ultra when it comes to producing smartphone chipsets, and given that we're in the tail end of a silicon shortage, it sounds like it couldn't make enough for the FE too.

The Elec says that Samsung planned to build three million S22 FE units, but it's instead putting these chipsets towards more Ultra units. The site does say that this isn't the end of the line for the Fan Edition line though, with a version of the Samsung Galaxy S23 still expected next year.

Fan Edition models usually have weaker specs than their full-fat siblings, particularly in the camera and design departments, but they do generally have the same chipsets – that's why Samsung can easily use the stock it had prepared for the S22 FE on the S22 Ultra instead.

We can only assume that the S22 Ultra's popularity has taken Samsung by surprise – if the company was expecting this stylus-toting phone to sell this well, it likely wouldn't have drawn up plans for an S22 FE in the first place, knowing that it wouldn't have the chipset supply for both.

Analysis: an intriguing shift to the expensive

Given that many countries are experiencing a cost of living crisis currently, it's a little surprising that Samsung is canceling its mid-range phone in favor of its super-expensive one. 

With lots of phone series, mid-range spin-offs of premium models have the potential to be quite popular – just look at Apple's iPhone SE or Google's Pixel A lines as proof.

However, a persistent issue with Samsung's Galaxy  FE phones has been that they offer similar experiences to the middling members of its more affordable A range, yet come attached to much higher prices. 

The Samsung Galaxy A53 came out just months after the S21 FE launched, yet had a much more competitive price and specs list, for example – it's no wonder that Samsung has doubts about the S22 FE.

There's also the curious fact that phone fans are apparently still happy to spend huge amounts of money on aspirational smartphones, despite the cost of living issues – just look at how popular iPhones remain despite their high pricing.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.