In recent years Huawei's flagships like the Huawei P20 Pro and Huawei Mate 20 Pro have had excellent cameras, and part of the reason for that might come down to the decision to have both monochrome and color lenses. It's an idea that Samsung could soon be borrowing.
A Samsung patent spotted by LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), which was originally granted in South Korea back in 2016 but which in November 2018 was translated into English and filed in India, details a smartphone camera system with two lenses – one monochrome and one color.
In the patent the monochrome camera is 20MP while the color one is 4MP, but it's an idea that could be applied to lenses with any number of megapixels. The key factor seems to be that the monochrome lens captures most of the detail and is then combined with the same image shot on the color lens to add color.
Interestingly, the same patent also talks about a holographic system which could display a 3D projection of images in the air.
That feature sounds rather more ambitious and we’re not at all convinced we’ll see it any time soon, if at all, though notably LetsGoDigital has now seen at least five other patents from Samsung in the space of a month mentioning such a system.
A monochrome lens though seems a lot more realistic, especially given that Huawei is already doing it. A number of Samsung phones already have multiple camera lenses too, but currently none of them are monochrome. Rather you’ll often get one wide-angle lens and one telephoto one, as on the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.
We’ve not heard rumors of Samsung adding a monochrome lens to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 or any other unannounced phone, so even this is a feature that might not appear for a while, if at all, but it’s more likely than a hologram.