This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.
Now that Galaxy Unpacked has finally been and gone, we thought we’d get a breather from Samsung leaks for a bit. But no! For this is Hell Year, and in Hell Year all things are terrible (except cats).
The usual “people familiar with the matter” have been talking about what we might expect to see on the next phone in the flagship S line, which will presumably be called the Galaxy S30. And they reckon one key photography feature we’ve got used to in our flagship phones won’t be appearing: the time of flight (ToF) sensor.
The ToF sensor has been around for several phone generations now, and is included in both the Galaxy S20 Plus and the Ultra. It bounces infrared light off the surfaces you’re photographing to find out how far away they are, using this information to make effects like the slightly blurred “portrait effect” background everyone’s so fond of.
It’s also handy for AR stuff, in the same way things like Google’s AR animals ask you where the floor is before appearing.
So why no ToF sensor on the S30? Well, according to The Elec‘s anonymous sources, Samsung doesn’t think there are enough exciting AR applications for it, so it’s a bit of a waste of money. Also, apparently, the company thinks it’s “too far behind Apple” and wants to gain some ground, which we guess means doing what Apple does and dropping cool features that your average man in the pub doesn’t care about.
However, per Techradar, Samsung isn’t entirely abandoning Time of Flight. It’s now working on producing its own ToF sensors for future gadgets, instead of relying on Sony’s.
If everything unfolds as normal, the S30 range should be with us around February 2020. By which time we’ll probably all be marauding bands of zombies, but ones with good phones. [Techradar]