With the Galaxy Note 20 out, we can turn our attention towards the rumors and leaks about the next Galaxy S series smartphone – Galaxy S30. The phone is going to arrive next year, but according to the reports, a key decision has been made by the people responsible for specification detail about the on-board camera technology. The tech magazine The Elec suggests that the Galaxy S30 series won’t be using the time-of-flight sensor on board, as the Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 ultra do. The sensor uses infrared light to measure how far the object you are taking picture of is in a scene. This measurement is used to create portrait blur effects as well as more accurate augmented reality renderings.
Samsung might be removing this sensor due to two possible reasons – (1) It doesn’t see any market for augmented reality visuals in the consumer market to make use of and (2) it was adding a tiny fraction of extra cost and work while manufacturing. However, this doesn’t mean that Samsung is going to give up on the technology completely. They are focusing on creating their semiconductors to use in future Samsung. If Samsung would remove the sensor, it might not be the first time for Samsung. As they have already skipped the same sensor in the note 20 devices.
Both Samsung and Apple buy their ToF sensors from Sony, but Apple has a deal for direct sensors incorporating LiDAR. They are the latest ones and used in iPad Pros. As per rumors you might see these latest ToF sensors in the upcoming iPhone 12 too. Samsung, however, uses indirect sensors from Sony, which are almost half of the price. Phones without ToF sensors can still create portrait blur effects and handle AR – but the results aren’t good as it is with the sensor. It would seem that Samsung is holding back on the technology until they come up with something better.