Chinese Smartphone Giants Could Bring Back ToF Sensors

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ToF Sensor

It seems that the days of seeing ToF or Time-of-Flight sensors on smartphones might return once again, as a new report has suggested that the upcoming flagship handsets of the Chinese vendors will work to re-adopt the ToF camera sensors.

The timing for this report is quite interesting, considering as to how the news comes just days after reports have suggested that Apple will be working to include the new ToF based LiDAR sensors for the iPhone Pro series lineup in 2021.

For those of you unaware, LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and it is a remote sensing technology that makes use of light that is in the form of a pulsed laser in order to measure ranges to the Earth.

Will Chinese Flagships Really Feature ToF Sensors?

Coming back to the report, which arrives via DigiTimes, citing sources close to the matter mentions that Chinese brands are now raising their orders for components and lenses that are key to the making of ToF cameras.

One such example is Honor, which recently added the ToF sensor to its flagship Honor 50 Pro series of devices, with the sensors sourced via Taiwanese supply chains.

The suppliers for the parts consist of GaAs foundries Win Semiconductors, Advanced Wireless Semiconductor (AWSC), and certain others that will be key to supplying Apple with 3D Face-ID sensors and ToF LiDAR scanners as well, to be used in the upcoming iPhones.

To add to this, the source added that a few of the Huawei P50 series models will also be adopting the ToF cameras, Samsung Electronics, another major smartphone maker hailing from Korea seems unlikely to bring the ToF cameras back to its premium handsets, and it seems unlikely that it could launch a device with the same in 2021.

Do note that despite this, the source believes that the Taiwanese suppliers should see robust orders in the second part of the year, due to the strong sales of 5G PA handsets and VSCEL chipsets that are to be used in new iPhones and flagship-grade offerings from the top Chinese vendors.

In case you did not know, a ToF or Time-of-Flight sensor makes use of infrared light, which are lasers that are not visible to the naked eye to determine depth-related information, much like how a bat might see its surroundings.

The specific sensor will emit a light signal, which goes and hits the subject, then proceeds to return to the sensor. The time that is taken to return is then measured, providing depth-mapping based abilities.

Reported By

Shloke is your go-to guy when it comes to consumer tech. Specializing in In-Depth pieces, he's also getting to grips with Telecom. His hobbies consist of Formula One and Gaming.

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