Sony may not be a market leader when it comes to finished smartphones, but the company still manages to play a role in bringing some of the most popular phones around to market. Just as companies like Samsung don’t only make their own phones, but also build the electronics that make their way into competitors’ handsets, Sony’s got a solid business developing components that make it into phones like the Nexus 6P, Galaxy S6, and LG G4. And while the jury’s still out as to whether or not we’re going to see any new Sony handsets at MWC next week, we’ve got at least one new Sony product to look forward to, with the company announcing its new Exmor RS IMX318 camera for smartphones.
The IMX318 is a 1/2.6-inch stacked CMOS sensor capable of delivering 22.5MP images. Compared to pretty much every other sensor out there, that spells some seriously tiny pixels – just 1.0um square. Despite that potential red flag, Sony swears that image quality won’t take a hit, thanks to a combination of low-noise circuitry and efficient light capture.
Beyond just a high megapixel count from a physically small sensor, the IMX318 packs some other interesting tricks, like a built-in hybrid phase/contrast autofocus system (with focus times as low as 0.03 seconds), and integrated three-axis electronic stabilization. And with the ability to capture 4K video at 30fps, the sensor is just as ready to tackle video needs as still photography.
When can we hope to see this guy show up in a new smartphone and finally demonstrate what it can do? Well, manufacturers should start getting their hands on the sensor as samples arrive this May, so it’s not crazy that we could expect to have a phone using the IMX318 launch by the end of the year.