Every year, smartphone manufacturers are developing new features that will help users take better shots. The ToF sensor was one of these innovations in the Galaxy S10 and S20 series.
As Samsung explains on its website, it is a sensor “that can judge depth and distance to take your photography to the next level”. It uses the known speed of light to measure distance and effectively counts the time it takes for a reflected beam of light to return to the camera’s sensor. In addition to being used in photography, this sensor can also be used by augmented reality applications on mobile devices.
While Samsung praised the advantages of this sensor a few years ago, the manufacturer seems hesitant today. And according to a release by Sammobile, which is relaying the Korean media ETNews, Samsung would consider skipping the ToF sensor for the time being.
Citing a source familiar with the matter, this media indicates that users with the Galaxy S21 would be happy with the quality of the camera despite not having a ToF sensor. Hence, Samsung would consider skipping the sensor on its 2022 models.
Samsung could equip its smartphones with the ToF sensor again, but for augmented reality
However, this does not mean that Samsung is saying goodbye to this type of sensor. In addition, Samsung LSI, the subsidiary specializing in sensors, recently introduced the ISOCELL Vizion 33D. This is a new generation ToF sensor.
According to Sammobile, however, Samsung would be more interested in the applications of this type of sensor in the field of augmented reality on mobile devices than in the applications in photography.
Currently, Samsung believes that the experiences currently available through augmented reality apps on mobile devices do not warrant the use of a ToF sensor. However, this could change as new applications land on Android.
Note that in the Apple ecosystem, the equivalent of the ToF sensor is the LiDAR scanner, which is also a 3D scanner. After introducing this new sensor into the ecosystem with the iPad Pro 2020, Apple also equipped its iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max with this technology. LiDAR improves the photo experience, but can also be used by augmented reality apps.
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