Here's why the Samsung Galaxy S21 is set to launch so early in 2021

Samsung Galaxy S20
The Samsung Galaxy S20 series. (Image credit: Samsung)

More than one pair of eyebrows were raised when rumors started swirling that the Samsung Galaxy S21 could break cover in January – Galaxy flagships usually show up in February or March every year – and now we might have learned the reason why.

According to multiple inside sources speaking to Reuters, the early start is being planned so that Samsung can grab some market share away from Huawei, while also getting a head start on Apple in 2021.

It's a strategy that makes sense, but it's the first time we've heard a specific reason why Samsung has brought its schedule forward. Officially, all Samsung has said on the record is that nothing is guaranteed. So make of that what you will.

Samsung claimed 23% of the global smartphone market in Q3 2020, the stats show, with Huawei second on 14.9%. It would appear Samsung is keen to capitalize on that lead and on Huawei's ongoing trade ban in the US.

Sales force

With a change in the White House in January, Huawei may soon find it easier to strike deals with US companies again, though nothing is certain. If that does come to pass, Samsung will want to be ready for a Huawei resurgence.

Indeed it was Huawei who led the market in the second quarter of 2020, after sales of the Galaxy S20 weren't quite as brisk as Samsung had hoped. Having clambered back into top spot the South Korean tech giant won't want to relinquish it again.

Meanwhile, Apple reportedly shifted 12.4% of the world's smartphones in Q3 2020, but the launch of the iPhone 12 was later than normal. It's possible that Samsung wants to take some of the wind out of those sales as well as distracting from the iPhone 13.

Based on the information we've got so far, it looks as though we'll be hearing all about the Samsung Galaxy S21 on January 14, 2021. Brace yourself for quite a substantial design change, as well as performance and camera improvements.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.