Smartphones, in 2020 108 Megapixel cameras

In 2020, the first smartphones with a 108-megapixel photo sensor will debut. Are they really useful? For the moment yes: here's why

In a few months the first smartphone camera sensors with a resolution of 64 MegaPixels will arrive, by the end of 2020 the 108 Megapixel ones will arrive. At the same time, will arrive the first optical zoom of 5-10X real and not, as in many current smartphones, hybrids between optical and digital.

To make this known on Twitter is Ice Universe, a character always very informed about the news concerning smartphones. But, in fact, in this case it is not a rumor at all, but the simple sum of several announcements already made by manufacturers of sensors and camera optics. What Ice Universe says, in short, has been known for a long time: the first official announcements, in fact, date back to last March and were made by Samsung and Qualcomm that have serious intentions to challenge the current sensor present on all top of the range cell phones: the 48 MP Sony IMX586.

64 MP and 100 MP Qualcomm sensors

Judd Heape, Senior Director of Product Management at Qualcomm, stated in an interview in March that Qualcomm's first 64 MP and even 100 MP photo sensors will arrive as early as 2019. Current Snapdragon chipsets (660, 670, 675, 710, 845 and 855) support up to 192 MP resolution, so you just need a more powerful sensor. The 48 MP lenses on the market today combine 4 pixels into one creating a 12 MP image. It's possible that upcoming 64 MP sensors will create 16 MP images.

Samsung's 48 MP and 64 MP sensors and 5X zoom

In May, Samsung responded to Qualcomm by announcing the new 64 MP ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor and the updated 48 MP ISOCELL Bright GW2 sensor. Again, we're talking about 4 pixels in one, so 16 MP and 12 MP images, respectively. Also in May 2019, then, Samsung started mass-producing its new 5X optical zoom, which we may see as early as the next Samsung Galaxy Note 10.

Who needs a 100 MP sensor?

With camera sensors, we're seeing a real race to the last MegaPixel, which is very reminiscent of the race to the last Mhz of CPUs at the turn of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It's not strange, then, that someone starts to wonder if you really need all these MegaPixels of resolution on a smartphone camera. The answer, for the moment and for a few more years, is probably yes: smartphones, in fact, have the big problem of size that prevents the installation of large and bright lenses. That's why manufacturers are investing in artificial intelligence (as in the case of night mode and HDR) to produce a better and brighter image. With more pixels there's more information to feed to the algorithms: the amount of computation increases, but the end results improve.