Samsung Electronics recently filed for a trademark application for a new camera feature, the Triple Intellicam. This latest functionality will likely be an improvement over the Dual Intellicam technology, which Samsung included with the Galaxy A8 Star, a mid-range smartphone it launched last year. The Dual Intellicam feature automatically chooses for the user the appropriate camera module or lens depending on the current environmental conditions. In the case of the Galaxy A8 Star, the handset will shift between its 16-megapixel and 24-megapixel cameras depending on the environmental conditions.
The term Triple Intellicam suggests that this feature will now involve three camera sensors, instead of the two found in Samsung's recent mid-range offering, while still using algorithms to determine the best imaging module for a specific location or environment. Several smartphone offerings from the South Korean tech giant already feature three rear cameras. Some of these devices, like the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+, is oriented towards the more premium segment of the smartphone market.
However, given that the Dual Intellicam feature first appeared in a mid-range device, the South Korean tech giant may also initially incorporate the Triple Intellicam functionality in an upcoming mid-tier product. For example, one of the mid-level smartphones that Samsung may launch soon include the Galaxy A60, which will reportedly feature a triple rear-camera setup.
Several handset makers are trying to be innovative in how they implement their multiple rear camera setups. In recent years, smartphone manufacturers included multiple rear sensors equipped with different lenses, and then the user will choose the camera that they want to use for their shot. However, the Triple Intellicam feature takes away the decision-making from the user, which could improve the smartphone's user experience through a less tedious process of taking images while also enhancing the quality of images released by the handset.
However, other manufacturers are more creative about how they implement multiple rear cameras. For example, HMD Global used the computational photography algorithms from Light to combine information from multiple sensors to improve the quality of images produced by the company's flagship smartphone offering, the Nokia 9 PureView. By combining data from multiple imaging modules, the smartphone may offer improved low-light photography.
Aside from improved software features, the South Korean tech giant is also developing both hardware and software solutions to further boost the quality of images captured by its handsets. Recently, Samsung Electronics filed a patent that allows the company to include a DSLR-like mirror into its smartphones. This mirror can rotate horizontally or vertically, and it allows the handset to use a single lens for multiple camera sensors by focusing light towards a specific imaging module. This mirror may also compensate for hand movements while taking images.
Smartphone manufacturers often face limitations on what camera hardware it could include with its handsets, and oftentimes, the companies rely on algorithms and other machine-learning techniques to compensate for these restrictions. While most of these algorithms impact how the image is processed, this feature focuses more on choosing the appropriate hardware for the environment.