When we're talking about the technical specifications of mobile devices, cameras are usually things that merely get a mention before we move onto more important hardware. Recently Nokia tried to make the camera the center of attention and now we're seeing Toshiba do the same thing. The company revealed its new dual camera module, the TCM9518MD, at CES 2014 this week, announcing that it has started shipping out samples to mobile device manufacturers.
While the name is a little uninspiring, the feature list is not. As already mentioned, the TCM9518MD features dual 5MP cameras that are working in tandem with a dedicated LSI chip. This setup is reminiscent of the Lytro camera, and according to Toshiba, allows users to simultaneously capture image and depth data. This functionality, in turn, is capable of producing images where the foreground and background are both in focus. It will also allow users to blur the background while keeping the subject of the picture in focus, so this module will open up a range of options that aren't possible with more traditional mobile device cameras.
In the announcement, Toshiba executive Andrew Burt points out that the TCM9518MD doesn't require focus motors, which cuts down on the space manufacturers will need to dedicate to the module. The TCM9518MD is also capable of upscaling the images snapped with the two 5MP sensors to 13MP, which cuts down on module height. Knowing that, we can imagine that quite a few manufacturers will be interested in testing out the TCM9518MD, so it may not be long before we see the module begin popping up in new tablets and smartphones.
Toshiba is at the point where it needs to catch the attention of manufactures too, as the TCM9518MD has entered its sampling phase. Mobile device makers can order small qualities of the camera for testing purposes, so Toshiba is ready to get the ball rolling on large-scale production, so long as interest is there. The company will also be showing off the TCM9518MD at CES this week, so interested parties can stop by and have a look at the camera (with an appointment). Do you think this new camera from Toshiba will take off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.