There's less than a month to go before Samsung launches its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone worldwide on 11 April, and the new device has still not gone into mass production due to camera module manufacturing problems.
According to Korean news site ETNews, Samsung is apparently having problems manufacturing the 16 megapixel camera modules that are thin enough to fit into the Galaxy S5's casing without damaging the lens.
The 16 megapixel camera module consists of six plastic pieces, one more piece than in the existing 13 megapixel camera modules in the Galaxy S4.
The problem that Samsung is having is that even though the number of plastic pieces has gone up, the thickness of each piece has remained the same, so in order to fit the new camera module into the Galaxy S5, the lens makers will likely have to develop new technology to make thinner lenses.
New lens too thick
"On a thin lens, even the slightest flaw results in a considerable optical distortion," explained an industry insider. "To make plastic lens thinner, a more accurate mould technology is necessary."
Some in the South Korean smartphone industry feel that Samsung has brought the problem on itself by stifling the development of the technology.
Lens manufacturers previously used to develop their own moulds to make camera lenses. But a few years ago Samsung began producing the moulds themselves and then sending these to the lens manufacturers to pump out lenses from.
Making camera lens modules for Samsung smartphones is a long, fiddly process, the report states, that can easily lead to an optical fault, unless the six lens pieces are accurately joined together and centred on an optical axis.
No time to waste
By joining six pieces together instead of five for the 13 megapixel camera modules, the risk of faults surfacing increases dramatically, according to industry insiders.
ETNews believes that Samsung will have to delay the launch of the Galaxy S5. However the manufacturer, which has staff now constantly stationed at the lens manufacturers' plants, is still hopeful of meeting the deadline.
"The camera module for Galaxy S5 is an integration of ultra compact and ultra thin technologies," explained a Samsung Electronics insider.
"There may be difficulties in the earlier phase of production. However, we will be able to increase the yield within a short period of time."