Since the day Apple announced its 10th-anniversary iPhone, the tech community can’t stop talking about the iPhone X. The phone will go on sale in the first week of November, and is expected to remain in high demand through early 2018. Meanwhile, Apple’s biggest rival Samsung is planning to take on, or beat, the iPhone X with its next-gen Galaxy S9. A new report coming out of Korea claims that the Galaxy S9 video camera could be much faster than the iPhone X.
Galaxy S9 video camera to capture 1080p slo-mo videos at 1,000fps
Sources familiar with the matter told ETNews that Samsung was developing a new image sensor that can capture videos at 1,000 frames per second (fps). The Korean company will start mass production of these sensors in November. It will allow for much better slo-mo video capture compared to Apple’s iPhone X. Sony’s XZ Premium uses a similar sensor, but Sony doesn’t have the might of Samsung in the smartphone industry to challenge the iPhone X.
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The iPhone X is capable of shooting 4K videos at 60fps, and 1080p slo-mo footage at 240 frames per second. But the Galaxy S9 video camera will go up to 1,000fps with 1080p resolution. It will be a true achievement if Samsung offers such capabilities with the Galaxy S9. Smartphone vendors have been consistently improving the camera quality of their devices to differentiate from the competition.
According to ETNews, the Korean company’s new sensor consists of a three-layer design. The logic processing and fast DRAM memory are built into the chip itself. The on-chip memory will allow the video data to be stored locally at an incredibly high speed before the camera app saves it. There is also a drawback of the three-layer sensor design.
Potential problems with the Galaxy S9 video camera
Since the data will be stored locally, users will be able to make very short slo-mo videos depending on the amount of memory available on the chip. You’ll likely get only a few seconds of slo-mo footage. It could annoy users who usually capture longer videos. On a positive note, 1,000 frames in slo-mo are going to take quite a while to watch, so you may not need to capture more than a few seconds of footage.
The biggest challenge before Samsung will be to avoid infringing on Sony’s patent for the layered image sensor technology. The Korean company is building its own design that is slightly different from Sony’s design. Sony has placed the memory between the logic processing and image sensor. Samsung, in contrast, has taken the existing two-layer sensor and added the DRAM memory on the back.
Using the three-layered chip design could be a bit problematic because if any of the three layers fails, the whole chip will become useless. Fortunately, Samsung has extensive experience in designing and fabricating chips in-house. It is unlikely to outsource manufacturing to third parties.
Samsung to announce Galaxy S9 in January
The Galaxy S9 video camera’s ability to take 1080p slo-mo videos at 1,000fps will put it far ahead of the iPhone X. The device will also have an improved dual camera setup on the back. Recent reports suggest that Samsung is planning to launch the Galaxy S9 in January rather than wait until March or April. The earlier than usual launch schedule is aimed at defending its market share against the iPhone X. Apple’s iPhone X will launch on November 3rd, and will remain in short supply for several months.
Inside sources told The Investor last month that the Galaxy S9 would enter mass production in November. It will be announced in January before hitting the store shelves in February. Samsung Display is on track to start supplying OLED panels for the S9 in November. The device will be powered by Android Oreo, and feature Samsung’s in-house AI assistant Bixby.
Galaxy S9 rumored specifications
The Galaxy S9 will run Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 845 SoC. The Korean company has reached a deal with Qualcomm that allows Samsung to get the initial supply of the upcoming processor. Other Android vendors will have to either delay the launch of their flagship devices or use the older Snapdragon 835 chipset. Supply chain sources told XDA Developers that the Galaxy S9 would be available with 4GB RAM and 64GB of built-in storage. By comparison, Samsung has included 6GB RAM in the Galaxy Note 8.
XDA Developers reports that the S9 and S9 Plus have been assigned model numbers SM-G960 and SM-G965. In terms of appearance, they will be similar to their predecessors. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would sport a 5.7-inch and a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED Infinity display, respectively. Samsung will keep the fingerprint scanner on the back of the Galaxy S9 because the device would not feature an optical fingerprint sensor.
The Galaxy S9 is said to have a Substrate-like PCB (SLP) mainboard to reduce the space occupied by various components and make the smartphone slimmer. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Galaxy S9 dual camera setup will be similar to that of the Galaxy Note 8. It means the S9 dual camera would consist of a wide-angle lens with OIS and a telephoto lens with OIS.