Like clockwork, LG has started dropping Easter eggs in relation to its next flagship phone ahead of its scheduled MWC 2019 launch. Today it is confirming two things. One that its next flagship phone will be called the LG G8 ThinQ and secondly, it will come with a 3D Time-of-Flight front camera for applications like secure face unlock, accurate depth mapping and AR using Infineon’s REAL3 chip.
ToF cameras aren't uncommon these days, but mostly companies are adopting it in their rear cameras for 3D depth mapping purposes. The Vivo Nex dual display is possibly the only phone in the market that uses a dedicated ToF sensor for face unlock since basically it uses a single setup that serves as both rear and front camera. The LG V40 ThinQ will be the first phone to ship with a dedicated ToF camera on the front.
“ToF is faster and more effective in ambient light, reducing the workload on the application processor thereby also reducing power consumption. And due to its fast response speed, ToF technology is widely used in various biometric authentication methods, such as face-recognition,” LG says.
It is basically a step-up from Face ID that Apple uses in its iPhone X and XS models. As opposed to Apple’s TrueDepth camera system that uses structured light technique, a ToF system calculates the time it takes for an IR laser to bounce off subjects and return to the device to create a more accurate 3D picture of the environment. Use cases also include, “more accurate background blur in selfie portraits, as well as potentially having various AR applications.”
LG isn’t going into the technical details and how it is going to use ToF in the G8 ThinQ, but is promising to deliver “a new level of front camera capability in a smartphone.”
“Keeping in mind LG’s goal to provide real value to its mobile customers, our newest flagship was designed with ToF technology from inception to give users a unique and secure verification system without sacrificing camera capabilities,” Chang Ma, who is senior vice president and head of Product Strategy at LG Mobile Communications Company said in a press statement.
LG isn’t new to fancy gimmicks. Whether it be toying with modularity or adding a dedicated secondary ticker screens to smartphones, LG has done it all. Recently, the company had teased that the LG G8 ThinQ will allow users to say, “goodbye to touch.” Which suggested hovering gestures will be one key aspect here. That’s all that there is to it for now. But now that LG has started offloading more information, hopefully, it will drop some more in the days to come.