It has been reported that Samsung considered bringing back the Time of Flight (ToF) sensors in the Galaxy S22 series after they removed it from the S21 series that was launched this January. The 3D ToF sensor has previously been on high-end Samsung smartphones like the Galaxy S10 5G and the Galaxy S20 Ultra, though when the latter had major issues with the autofocus, Samsung ditched the 3D ToF sensor in favor of a simple Laser Auto Focus system and when they discovered that the change didn't negatively impact the user experience, they stuck with it for the S21 series launch and are expected to continue with S22.
The reconsideration of the Time of Flight sensors reportedly started when Apple included it in the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max and ended after Samsung looked at customers' feedback and noticed that users found the Laser system to be good enough. With the Galaxy S22, Samsung will be sticking with the simpler Laser Autofocus but will introduce major improvements in other areas.
ToF and laser autofocus are both technologies that use the distance to an object to calculate depth. However, while ToF can be used to create depth maps, laser autofocus can only help with autofocus. Nonetheless, some companies use depth sensors to generate depth maps.
It is worth noting that while Samsung not reverting to ToF sensors will not affect the Galaxy S22 series it will have a huge impact on Samsung LSI— which introduced its first 3D ToF camera technology, the Vizion 33D last month —as this branch has been expecting to be flooded with orders for its sensors. Now, Samsung LSI will need to focus on Chinese smartphone makers as possible buyers.
The Galaxy S22 is expected to hit the market in the first quarter of 2021. The company will likely stick to the schedule and build upon the impressive setup of the Galaxy S21.