High resolution photography has been achievable on mobile devices for some time now, and for the past few years, it has seemed as though the megapixel arms race was over, replaced instead with efforts to cram more and more lenses onto smartphones.
In spite of this, it seems that manufacturers could soon be pushing the image detail boundary to new limits thanks to the impending introduction of a cutting edge sensor from South Korean manufacturer Samsung.
Pixel perfect photography promised
While it may be Samsung that makes the impressive sensor with a reported 108 megapixel resolution, it could be Chinese rival Xiaomi that is the first to offer handsets that actually feature this component.
Tech Radar reports that Xiaomi will be introducing around four different handsets that have 108 megapixel sensors under their skins, which will put them ahead of the competition and provide buyers with plenty of choice in terms of the device they select.
It is worth noting that simply introducing a 108 megapixel sensor is not all that is needed to make super high resolution image capture a possibility on mobiles; significant software upgrades are also required in order to both capture and view photos with such a substantial pixel count.
Insiders report that Xiaomi is making changes to its photo viewing app so that users can snap pictures and then zoom in to see all of the detail up close.
Real world performance
Whether or not these rumoured phones will offer users the option of using the full 108 megapixel resolution of the sensor is another question; it may be that this is simply a capability that is integrated in different ways, enhancing photos with lower pixel counts instead.
There has, for some time, been a firm argument for ignoring pixel count altogether when considering which smartphone or standalone digital camera to buy, since there are more important factors which determine real-world performance beyond raw resolution. The same will no doubt be true for Xiaomi’s upcoming handsets, even if they can claim bragging rights over competing devices for a short period of time.
Indeed back when Nokia was still making mobiles itself, rather than licensing its brand to a third party, it had a number of super high resolution cameraphones on offer, some of which provided sensor resolutions of over 40 megapixels. This party trick was not enough to convince consumers to switch from rival devices, since the rest of the experience was not up to scratch.
Whenever a new feature arrives on the mobile market, it is important to be aware of the issues which may exist in the wake of its release. Unproven components, including Samsung’s 108 megapixel sensor, could suffer teething troubles which may suggest that having cheap phone insurance could be valuable for anyone who needs to get a repair or a replacement quickly.
Because Xiaomi is buying this component from Samsung rather than making it in-house, there could be further inherent complexity in parts sourcing and repairs, fuelling the argument for gadget insurance.