8 megapixel camera modules are now pretty standard even in lower end smartphones. That’s because many camera suppliers have mastered 8 mpx sensor technologies few years ago, and now can make a lot of them relatively cheap. Due to high competition, end product prices are pretty low, volumes are high and handset makers can now easily stick 8 mpx camera unit in their mid-tier and even cheaper devices.
But when we get to 13 megapixel cameras, things are very different there. Up until the middle of this year, the only company which could produce 13 megapixel camera sensors in volume, was Sony. Even Samsung, with its own camera production facilities, used Sony’s sensors for its Galaxy S4 flagship.
It took some time, but now other companies, including Toshiba and Samsung LSI, have finally mastered 13mpx CMOS sensor production problems, and are coming out with their own offerings. So, starting with this Holiday Season, you can expect more and more 13 megapixel shooters in mid-tier Android devices. While the cameras in next year’s flagships are moving to 16 megapixel and higher resolutions.
ETNEws reports today that both Sony and Samsung LSI are preparing for a bidding war to be the main supplier of 16 megapixel CMOS image sensors for Samsung’s Galaxy S5. Samsung will begin sampling SGS5 camera components next month, and should make the decision on them by the end of the year.
Sony has technology experience on its side, and might be ahead in overall quality and reliability. Samsung LSI, on the other hand- is part of Samsung Electronics, has closer ties to the mobile division’s execs who will chose the components. And they recently announced some improvements, like ISOCELL and optical image stabilization to its camera tech. Although it’s unclear how much of this tech will be ready for mass production of 16 megapixel camera modules. So, as of today, I’d say Sony’s chances to be the main supplier of Galaxy S5 camera are pretty good.
Speaking of Galaxy S5, Joseilbo, the site that started the SGS5 in January rumor, now claims that Samsung is considering 64 bit eight-core Exynos CPU and 4 GB of RAM for their new flagship. While Chinese Mydrivers says that the deal Samsung has made with Catcher Technologies for full metal casings is not for S5, but for new super-premium F Series. For Galaxy S5, Samsung has opted for the improved faux-leather covers they first tried on Note 3.
All those rumors popping up on the net today, show that Samsung Galaxy S5 is at a very advanced stage of development now, and makes me believe that its early launch next year – is a real possibility. With 16 megapixel camera as the most likely new feature.
Everything else- is still flux. With prototype SGS5s available with Exynos and Snapdragon CPUs, in plastic faux-leather and metallic chassis, with bigger and smaller displays, and in dust/water proof and not protected configurations. What will make it into a final model – that even most people at Samsung will not know until late December/January, at least.