By Stephen Schenck | February 18, 2014 3:30 PM
For the longest time it was so simple to talk about the flashes accompanying smartphone cameras: either you had no flash at all (god forbid), an LED flash, or you were that rare model with a legit xenon flashbulb. But now the conversation about flashes has started getting more complicated, as new technologies arrive to promise higher-quality illumination than ever before. We saw Apple go with a multi-color pair of LEDs for the flash on the iPhone 5S, letting it match the color temperature of ambient lighting. If what we’ve been seeing from the HTC M8 is accurate, that phone could get a similar dual-color LED flash. Today Samsung shares some of its own advancements with flash tech, announcing a few new components it plans to demo at the Mobile World Congress next week.
A couple of Samsung’s new LED flash packages are designed for a super-wide field of view – what it’s calling its reflector-integrated flash LEDs. While there are multiple versions in the works, one of the most intriguing is an extra-slim edition, only 1.4mm thick itself and intended for phones and tablet trying to keep under the 7mm mark.
The other promising development is a flash that promises substantially enhanced color quality; specifically, Samsung says that it cuts down on the deviation away from its intended color by up to 40% compared to previous Samsung LED flashes. While it may not be as flexible as a dual-color setup, this sounds like a step in the right direction.
All this seems great, but will the Galaxy S 5 get one of these new flashes, or will it be stuck with a previous-gen component? Honestly, it’s hard to say, and will depend a lot on when Samsung hopes to get the phone into stores. Here, Samsung describes production of these LEDs starting next month, and availability arriving in the spring. Our gut says that that’s too late to appear in the GS5, though we may be wrong. Even if the GS5 misses the boat, maybe these flashes will make it into some of the spin-offs, like the Galaxy S 5 Active.
Update: Well, while we were busy wondering about the logistics of getting a flash that won’t even be made until next month into the GS5, we could have gotten the info straight from the horse’s mouth: Samsung says that one of those new reflector-integrated flashes “will be used in the next Galaxy smartphone, which is expected to be introduced later this month.”