Samsung sets March 17 for its second Unpacked event of 2021

The company is expected to talk up its less expensive Galaxy A series of phones in what it calls "bringing Awesome to everyone."

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read

Samsung is set to hold its second Unpacked event of 2021 on March 17. 


It's only the third month of the year, but Samsung is gearing up for its second big product launch of 2021. The company on Tuesday sent invitations for an Unpacked event set for 7 a.m. PT on March 17, where the company is expected to show off its affordable Galaxy A series of smartphones. Samsung said that at the event, it'll explain how it's "bringing Awesome to everyone." 

In mid-January, Samsung unveiled its flagship phones for the year, the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra, during an online event. All came with 5G, and the devices started at $800, which is $200 less than their predecessors. Though Samsung cut the price, in part because of the current environment, $800 may still be too expensive for the millions of people out of work during the coronavirus pandemic. That's where the A Series comes in.

Watch this: Camera comparison: Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12

Samsung has offered its Galaxy A phones internationally for a long time, but last year marked the first time it introduced a full lineup in the US. A year ago, it unveiled four 4G LTE phones that ranged from $110 for the Galaxy A10 to $400 for the Galaxy A51 and two 5G models, the $500 Galaxy A51 5G and the $600 Galaxy A71 5G. At the time, the A51 and A71 were two of the cheapest 5G phones in the US, but they've since handed the title of most affordable 5G phone to vendors like TCL with its $400 TCL 10 5G UW and OnePlus with its $300 Nord N10 5G. The Galaxy A devices helped Samsung gain buyers at a time when its pricier Galaxy S20 phones struggled. 

It's likely Samsung's new Galaxy A lineup will see lower prices than last year's 5G models. The move to introduce less expensive devices is a reversal from a few years ago, when Apple and Samsung made $1,000 the standard starting price for high-end phones. At first, some people accepted the hike, though plenty of others balked at the cost. Many held onto their older phones longer than before -- about three years in the US -- or sought out budget versions of iPhones and Galaxy phones. When 5G and more advanced materials were added to the devices, the companies again found it easier to justify the prices. Having the latest and greatest innovations isn't cheap. 

But some of those innovations have now been on the market long enough that Samsung and other companies can lower their base prices. We're also in the midst of a pandemic and recession that's resulted in millions of people sick and out of work. COVID-19 has infected more than 117 million people and has killed about 2.6 million.

Tune back to CNET for full coverage from Samsung's Unpacked.