Qualcomm Reveals Smartphones May Soon Have 100MP+ Cameras

How soon will consumers be able to purchase 100+ megapixel cameras? According to Qualcomm, 64MP and 100+MP cameras could be available as soon as the end of 2019. Qualcomm chips reportedly already support 192-megapixel sensors and the company is merely waiting for smartphone developers to catch up.

Qualcomm Senior Director of Product Management Judd Heape noted that “multiple brands” are working on 100+MP camera sensors. The companies are in a race to see who can release a device with the highest pixel count. Heape believes that 100+ MP flagship devices could be released by the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020

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Why has this information suddenly come to light? Heape argued that Qualcomm had updated their specs to demonstrate that “Snapdragon, the ISP (Image Signal Processor), the camera ISP in our devices are already compatible with these image sensors”. The Snapdragon 855, Snapdragon 845, Snapdragon 710, Snapdragon 675, and Snapdragon 670 could all support 192MP cameras, while the Snapdragon 660 supports 48MP camera sensors.” Qualcomm’s spec updates are intended to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Will cameras with higher megapixels produce better photographs? Not necessarily. The more megapixels you have, the more details you can theoretically resolve in an image. In order for a device to to take advantage of a high megapixel count, it would also need a larger sensor and sharper optics.

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This might not be feasible with a device as small as a smartphone. For example, Sony’s 100MP camera sensor measures 2.1” X 1.59” and costs $48,000 USD. However, Qualcomm expects that smartphone developers will reduce the size of pixels and increase the size of their sensors to accommodate this discrepancy.

Other companies are focusing on different aspects of smartphone cameras. Samsung and their chipmaker Exynos are reportedly working on improving the autofocus of Galaxy devices. Galaxy devices are also increasingly featuring a greater number of sensors. MediaTek is integrating AI into their chips. AI camera features include scene detection, AR apps, and the ability to “beautify” subjects in real-time. It will be interesting to see what consumers prefer for their smartphone cameras and whether high megapixel count cameras will end up on top.
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