Right now the Huawei P30 Pro is the out-and-out king of smartphone cameras, with its Super Spectrum image sensor granting it an unparalleled light sensitive range of up to ISO 204,800 and, therefore, best-in-class low-light picture snapping.
And this, along with its boundary pushing 10x hybrid lossless zoom, excellent HDR performance, and top-tier ultra-wide angle lens, means that not even the best effort from arch-rival Samsung – the Galaxy S10 Plus – can compete in camera prowess.
However, that could all be about to change, with a new Samsung trademark discovery hinting the South Korean maker is about to inject either its incoming 2019 flagship, the Galaxy Note 10, or its early 2020 flagship effort, dubbed Samsung Galaxy S11, with some incredible new picture taking skills. Skills that could see its devices match or even best the Chinese maker's best efforts.
The latest discovery comes from tech site LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), which has unearthed a brace of official Samsung trademarks (see below image) filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in Great Britain.
The trademarks are for two pieces of technology called "AI-ISO" and "Smart ISO" that are described under the Class 9 categorisation of "cameras, smartphones, camera sensors, software for the image sensor" and are indicated to be "camera image sensors for smartphones", as well as "software for operating image sensor".
And these descriptions, along with analysis of the names Smart ISO and AI-ISO appear to reveal Samsung has developed new sensor technology and software that allows it to improve the ISO sensitivity range in its smartphone cameras, as well as make the controlling of that range smarter through artificial intelligence.
This seems like a direct riposte and counter attack against Huawei's Super Spectrum image sensor technology, which will almost certainly be used once more in the Chinese maker's incoming Huawei Mate 30 range of devices.
This advanced ISO range with smarter AI control tech, if it does find its way into the Galaxy Note 10 (and industry whispers suggest it will), will therefore be yet another string in the Note 10 camera system's bow, with it joining a fresh hole-punch camera design, a new LED notification system, an advanced new optical zoom feature, and a Time of Flight (ToF) 3D imaging sensor.
Now, of course, after Huawei's difficult year, we've not heard as much as we would usually have about its incoming Mate 30 range, which is due in October.
But now with its blacklisting apparently over, it seems like the Chinese maker is free once more to continue the innovative work it has been doing in the phone industry over the past five years.
And that innovative work could include outfitting the Huawei Mate 30 Pro with an even more impressive piece of camera hardware that so far nobody has seen, such as the recently rumoured Cine-Lens. For the moment we will just have to wait and see.
What is clear, though, is that Samsung seems to have camera system prowess very much on the mind right now, with all these Note 10 improvements apparently leading up to a radical, order of magnitude jump forward in mobile phone camera quality come the launch of its Galaxy S11 range next February.