According to South Korean media ETNews, Samsung Galaxy S22‘s rear camera array is unlikely to have a time of flight (TOF) sensor.
The TOF sensor calculates the time it takes for the reflected light beam to bounce back to the sensor, which aids in 3D mapping of portrait modes and facial recognition.
Galaxy S10 5G, Note10 + and last year’s S20 series had the technology, but it was removed in the Note 20 and Galaxy S21 series, and now it looks like it won’t return in the Galaxy S22.
According to the report, people familiar with the matter said that the camera array without the TOF unit was not poorly received by consumers, so the company decided not to include the sensor on the Galaxy S22.
Samsung seems to think its flagship phone doesn’t need a TOF unit because it doesn’t have a meaningful role to play right now. The sensor is likely to return as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications mature.
According to a report last year, Samsung first brought TOF technology to mobile phones to keep up with Apple and Huawei. The technology is not as fast or accurate as Apple’s LIDAR depth sensors, which were made by Sony specifically for Apple.
That’s not to say Samsung has given up on the TOF sensor. Last November, the company introduced an iSocell Vizion 33D TOF sensor. It has a four-point demodulation system that allows for precise depth measurements of fast-moving objects, and Samsung says it can accurately map the user’s face in a dim environment. The company is now reportedly planning to sell it to a Chinese smartphone maker.
Other than the absence of a TOF camera, there have been few leaks about the Galaxy S22 series, which is likely to debut in Q1 2022. We understand that the series is likely to be powered by AMD-based Exynos processors. Samsung also recently partnered with Japanese camera company Olympus, and it remains to be seen whether the S22 will have an Olympus-branded camera array.