What looks like the HTC One successor, the M8, was spotted this morning sporting a Dual-Camera, with very little else changed on the back of the device, and the question we must ask ourselves is, “Why?” The last time two lenses were found on the back of a smartphone was for some gimmicky 3D effects that never really made a splash in the market – we certainly hope that HTC is not going down that path again, especially with their flagship device. At the CES last month, we know that Toshiba unveiled their TCM9518MD, touted as the first Dual-Camera module able to “simultaneously output recorded images and depth data for smartphones, tablets and mobile devices.” The camera contains dual-cameras and a dedicated LSI chip, which allows the camera to deliver deep focus images in the foreground, background, and all points in between, and it captures the depth data for each object in the picture.
Andrew Burt, vice president of the Image Sensor Business Unit, System LSI Group at TAEC stated: “We expect the TCM9518MD to drive new applications for smartphone, tablets and mobile devices including refocus and defocus; highlighting objects in a scene and then editing, cropping etc.; as well as image and gesture operation. Not only does the dual camera module enable these advanced capabilities with fast digital focus and little shutter lag, the device doesn’t require any focus motors, so it can be built much thinner than today’s 13-megapixel camera modules.” It uses twin 1/4-inch optical 5MP CMOS camera modules and the dedicated LSI chip that will generate a 13MP image by up scaling the images taken by the twin 5MP cameras. This design also decreases the module height of a conventional 13MP module, allowing for a thinner smartphone.
HTC decided to go with the Ultrapixel design, using less megapixels (4MP), but saying that they were larger and offered better low-light pictures, and while the HTC One offered good pictures, I do not think anybody would classify them as great. Maybe HTC has decided to go the more traditional route, if this Toshiba camera module can truly produce a 13MP photo, but accomplish this with the dual lenses. Another factor to consider is if Toshiba can manufacture enough of them to put into the HTC M8, considering its launch date should be over the next 2-3 months. Please let us know on our Google+ Page if you would like to see a design like this, or do you wish HTC would just get on board with a more conventional camera design.