Android phones could adopt this iPhone 12 feature next year

Iphone 12 Pro Review
Iphone 12 Pro Review (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A new report says that Android smartphone vendors may adopt direct time of flight camera technology next year.
  • Apple's adoption of LiDAR, which is based on the tech, is expected to prompt other vendors to follow suit, as the benefits vastly outweigh the less-expensive indirect time of flight used in most Android phones.

A new report says that Android smartphone vendors may look to adopt direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) technology for use in smartphone cameras next year, spurred by Apple's inclusion of LiDAR in the iPhone 12 Pro.

From DigiTimes:

Apple's adopting LiDAR based on dToF (direct time of flight) for iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPad (2020) is expected to prompt Android smartphone vendors to follow suit, likely to replace indirect ToF (iToF) to become the mainstream 3D depth-sensing technology in 2021.While major Android phone vendors have integrated less expensive iToF technology with rear cameras, applications have been limited without significantly enhancing user experience. Since dToF can offer significant AR effects, phone vendors are expected to adopt it in place of iToF for their flagship smartphones beginning 2021, Digitimes Research believes.

As the report notes, there are several benefits to dToF over iToF. dToF offers lower power consumption, better resistance to ambient light interference, and the ability to cope with more complicated scenes. Apple's LiDAR scanner also has double the range of the Sensor used in the Galaxy S20+ and Ultra. The tradeoff is cost, iToF being cheaper.

Apple announced the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in October, featuring its new LiDAR scanner first introduced in the iPad Pro earlier this year. The new LiDAR scanner enables the iPhone camera to measure light distance and pixel depth to provide improved AR experiences and better autofocus.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9