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Samsung's 2017 Galaxy S8 will substantially Advance its Selfie Front-Side Camera with a Next-Gen Actuator

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In the aftermath of the discontinuance of the Samsung Note7 over fire issues, Samsung has allowed a steady stream of news leaks about their new Galaxy S8 that is due to debut in Spain in late February at the Mobile World Congress annual event. Since early October we've learned that the new Galaxy smartphone could drop its traditional Home Button, introduce a dual lens camera, a 10nm processor and a new digital assistant designed and engineered by the Viv team that created Apple's Siri. Today a new Korean tech report reveals another piece of the S8 puzzle, and it relates to adding autofocus to the smartphone's selfie front-side camera.


The report specifically noted that Samsung Electronics is planning to introduce automatic focus (AF) function for a front-camera in order to increase quality of 'selfie pictures'.


Until now, Samsung Electronics has mostly been using fixed focus-type front-cameras because they were advantageous in making camera modules smaller and cheaper and in taking simple pictures. However as expectation level of customers has increased due to selfies becoming norms, there was a need for introduction of new technologies. Samsung Electronics has decided to introduce AF for front-camera of Galaxy S8 in order to deal with subjects that are located far away.


For the Galaxy S8 Samsung will introduce an encoder-type AF actuator for its front camera. AF actuator is a part that goes into a camera module and controls location of lenses and adjusts focus of lenses automatically. Cameras with AF actuators find optimal focal distance according to where subjects are located.


Cameras with an AF actuator will be able to take pictures of subjects that are located in different distances more clearly.


Up until now, competing smartphone OEMs have simply tried to improve pixel counts as a way to improve their respective front cameras. Samsung aims to use a different method for actuator wherein it will use an encoder method instead of VCM (Voice Coil Motor) method that is usually used for rear-cameras. While VCM method has coils in center of lenses, encoder method has coils at the side and this allows camera modules to be slimmer.


The report noted that "Encoder-type actuators do not allow Smartphone cameras to stick out of Smartphones and there are much more needs to minimize thickness of camera modules."


That was an obvious dig at Apple's iPhone Plus camera design. Even the standard iPhone 7's camera sticks out. That's always been a blemish on the iPhone's design and I was surprised that it didn't get resolved for the iPhone 7. The Google Pixel camera makes a point to show-off their back camera being flush with the smartphone base and their camera is being praised for its quality. So it's not like Google skimped on quality in order to design a flush camera lens.


As Samsung Electronics is planning to introduce this new function to its front camera, it is predicted that all of Samsung's competitors will follow suit with this feature and higher grade front cameras throughout 2017.


So while Samsung was late to deliver a dual lens camera, they're going to make up for it by advancing the front end camera so as to get ahead of their competitors such as Apple.


With three months left to go, Samsung has already shown us a number of big advances coming to their Galaxy S8 in 2017 and more could be on the way. Considering that their Note7 had an Iris scanner and their Iris scanner partner is hurting for it, we're likely to see this feature makes its way to the S8 as well.


While that's not official, it was noted in a Korean report last month that " To ease some of that pain, Samsung Electronics announced that it would actively examine into assigning supplies of other Smartphones for its partners that are suffering due to reduction of sales. It also added that it will prepare separate measures for facilities that were set up just for Galaxy Note7 so that they can be used for other models. The report specifically singled out the makers of the Iris recognition camera scanners as a partner Samsung would try to assist. Therefore the logic would suggest that this component being added to the Galaxy S8 – unless it interferes with their new AF Actuator.


All in all, Samsung needs the Galaxy S8 to rock the market with new advanced features if it ever hopes to get back into the game and stop the bleeding caused by the Note7's demise. So more than likely Samsung will try to add one or two more surprises for the Galaxy S8 before it debuts in late February – so stay tuned.


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