After the Galaxy S10 5G, Samsung to invest more in TOF sensors
For quite some time now, most of the improvements we’ve seen in mobile cameras have been due to improvements in software. To a degree, camera hardware has plateaued, with the occasional increase in megapixel-count and secondary cameras being the noteworthy improvements. Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors are set to change that, however, finally making their way into phones.
ToF is an imaging technology that works by emitting a very short infrared light pulse and each pixel of the sensor measures the return time. It’s different from the existing solutions that are in place on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the iPhone XS. The technology is not completely new, however, ToF sensors are already featured in devices such as the LG G8 and the Huawei P30 Pro.
ToF sensors offer deeper facial recognition, improving security, and bring huge improvements in the AR field. They can be used, for example, to place virtual IKEA furniture in a room to help you envision what it would look like.
The 5G version of the Samsung Galaxy S10 features ToF sensors on the front and back of the device, and there are reportedly plans to bring it to the Galaxy Note 10 – due to be announced on August 7th. Furthermore, the Note 10 will allegedly feature two ToF sensors – one for each side of the device. This will allow for the aforementioned improved facial recognition security.
A new flagship featuring a new sensor will, of course, demand a greater supply of said sensor. Accordingly, a report from etnews claims that KOLEN – a South Korean business specializing in sensors for smartphones – is looking to invest as much as $22 million in building a new plant in Vietnam. Vietnam is where Samsung’s largest manufacturing plant is also located, grouped with partners that supply the tech giant with camera lenses.
KOLEN’s new plant will cover 10,000m2 and have a production capacity of 12 million lenses. Expected to finish construction by the end of this month, it will increase KOLEN’s total production capacity to 25 million. The plant will begin operating in August, just in time for the announcement of the Galaxy Note 10.
It’s exciting that smartphone manufacturers are finally looking towards new technologies to bring improvements to their cameras – especially those that bring improvements other than simply photo quality.