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Patent filing points towards a Samsung-made ToF sensor for the Galaxy S21 (S30)

Patent filing points towards a Samsung-made ToF sensor for the Galaxy S21 (S30)
Samsung replaced Galaxy S20 Ultra's DepthVision camera, which is its name for Time of Flight (ToF) sensors, with a laser autofocus sensor on the Galaxy Note 20. Various leaks had suggested the Galaxy S21(S30) will follow suit. A recent trademark filing spotted by Let's Go Digital suggests otherwise.

The chaebol apparently had a couple of reasons for removing the camera from the Note 20 series. Firstly, the company seemingly doesn't think the sensor serves a meaningful purpose at the moment.

Secondly, it  presumably believes its ToF sensor is not at par with Apple's version that you see on the iPad Pro. It will likely be found on the upcoming iPhone 12 as well.

Sony is to be blamed partially here if the report is to go by. Apparently, Apple has hogged the superior variety, which gives its ToF sensor a better range. 

This fueled rumors that the Galaxy S21 won't have a ToF sensor either, but a document filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) suggests Samsung is working on its own 3D ToF sensor called ISOCELL Vizion.

One of the applications of the unit is facial recognition, which means Samsung might place it on the front of its upcoming phones as well.

ISOCELL Vizion could alternatively make a debut with the Galaxy Note 21

Not all patented ideas are commercialized, and there is no indication that the module would be ready in time for the Galaxy S21. However, we had earlier heard about Samsung's semiconductor arm's research on a new ToF sensor with a better range, so we are not ruling out the possibility.

The news comes on the heel of a rumor which claims Samsung wants to expand camera module production significantly in 2021 to reduce its reliance on third-party assemblers and suppliers.

Per an earlier report, the highest-end Galaxy S21 model will feature a 108MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle unit, and two telephoto modules with different zooming capabilities. As for the  ISOCELL Vizion sensor, there is a greater likelihood we will see it on Galaxy Note 20's successor.

After all, the Galaxy S21 is expected to be more of a fine-tuned Galaxy S20, and it's uncharacteristic of Samsung to introduce massive changes every year.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 specs
  • Display 6.2 inches 2400 x 1080 pixels 120Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 10 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 8GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 4000 mAh
  • OS Android 12 Samsung One UI
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs
  • Display 6.8 inches 3200 x 1440 pixels 120Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 108 MP (Quad camera) 40 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 12GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 5000 mAh
  • OS Android 12 Samsung One UI

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