It was once a blessing to have a camera on your phone. Only one with one simple sensor. Sometimes, literally so that she just was, and not in order to take cool photos. Then they were also called the mutated descendant of the smiley. Then flashes gradually began to appear, second sensors, third sensors, fourth sensors, separate front cameras, and so on. One of the recent trends is the use of a ToF sensor in a smartphone. Many are glad that they have it, although they really do not understand what it is for and how it generally works. Interestingly, even manufacturers are not particularly in a hurry to explain this to users, using the principle 'is and is already good', which means you can sell.
Samsung can do a lot, but not everything.
What is a ToF camera
ToF camera or ToF sensor, as it is also called, is shorthand. The full version of the title sounds like Time-of-flight. This is a camera that allows you to estimate the distance to the subject and instead of pixels gives an estimate of the distance from the lens to the subject.
The distance is determined by measuring the time of movement of the light pulse to the object and back. So the camera understands at what distance this or that part of the scene is and can change the settings depending on this.
If you do not go into the details of technology, then the principle of operation of such a camera looks like this. It does not need to receive a detailed image – it is needed to obtain volume data, and other sensors are already responsible for the image. Probably one of the first uses of ToF in smartphones was the FaceID sensor in iPhone X.
What does Apple have to do with the Samsung Galaxy S21
It would seem, what relation Apple can have to a Samsung smartphone, which has not yet been released and which is not even certain that it will receive such a name, but there is a connection. It may be indirect, but it does have a certain impact on Samsung Apple. In this case, in relation to sensors.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra smartphones have already been announced this year without ToF sensors. Given this, there is a possibility that something similar could happen with the new smartphones of the Samsung Galaxy S line, which will be presented next year. Some analysts say Samsung allegedly believes there are not enough use cases for the technology. This is what, in their opinion, will be the reason for refusing to use such a sensor.
When the depth sensor can scan the face, it is useful for safety.
The main reason analysts agree is that it has become Apple. The technology used by Samsung is not as good as the one used by the Cupertinos. This is all due to the fact that Samsung uses the so-called indirect technology, and Apple – direct.
The sensors used Apple are designed and manufactured by Sony. It is logical to ask why Samsung does not want to buy these sensors from Sony and use them in its devices. In fact, not everything is so simple. Apple has an exclusive agreement with Sony. That is, it has full rights to them and can prohibit the Japanese from selling them “on the side”. Don't think Sony is in any kind of slavery. On the contrary, the company gets very good money for it and feels great. It is clearly better than Samsung, which has to look for other solutions.
According to some information, Samsung is still working on the option of using ToF-cameras in new models of its smartphones. They even say that for this purpose, its System LSI division is in full swing on the development of a new ToF sensor. At what stage the development is, of course, is not specified, but it is possible to improve the company's own developments.
What will be the Samsung Galaxy S21
As expected, the new Samsung Galaxy S series smartphone will be released in February or March next year. Of course, deviations are possible, but this is the standard model update cycle that the company has been following for many years.
Determining the distance like this is very useful, but only when it works correctly.
It is unlikely that the company will be ready to use the camera technology under the screen already in the next generation smartphone. It would be much more logical to expect that the camera, like last time, will be in the hole. Most likely, Samsung already has groundwork in this area, but jeopardizing the flagship smartphone with untested technology is hardly a good idea.
What definitely should not be doubted is that the new product will receive a Snapdragon 875 processor. What markings will be on its counterpart under the Exynos brand remains unknown.
It is not clear which version Android the smartphone will work on either, but it will certainly get the Samsung One UI shell. And yet all Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones will receive water and dust protection to the highest standard. Also, do not doubt the thin bezels of the front panel.
Samsung's sales haven't been going quite as planned this year, so the company must find a sweet spot with the Galaxy S21 series to outperform Galaxy S20 sales. There's still a long way to go before the Galaxy S21 series launch, so let's see what happens next. And at the same time we will find out what it will be called. I would not want the company to start counting dozens of models now, like Huawei. The version with the year of production looks much more interesting. This year S20 and Note 20, next year S21 and Note 21, then S22 and Note 22 and so on.