Sony's imaging sensors are used by tons of manufacturers all around the globe. Many smartphone manufacturers use Sony's sensors in their devices with custom software offerings to run them, of course. Well, Sony just launched company's best smartphone camera sensor thus far, a 21-megapixel IMX230. This sensor uses image plane phase detection autofocus, this is actually a first in phone sensors. The phase detection technology is used in mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, it has 192 autofocus points and will allow for blur-free tracking and capturing of fast moving objects, a car passing by for example.
Previous Sony sensors were able to shot real-time HDR video and IMX230 allows you to do the same, with the addition of real-time HDR images, similar to what we've seen from the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 handsets. This feature will bring out darker areas and adjust brightness to those which are too bright. Sony also said that that they'll be making a 16-megapixel sensor with the same image plane phase detection autofocus technology, sensor which might end in mid-range handsets, which would actually improve camera on mid-range devices significantly. This 21-megapixel IMX230 is 1/2.4" in size, it is somewhat smaller than the 1/2.3" sensor in the Z3, but the difference is... well, insignificant.
This, of course, sounds great on paper, it really does, but I'm looking forward to seeing this sensor in action. Software always plays a huge part in how these sensors behave and with the addition of the phase detection technology, manufacturers now have another great sensor to use in their devices and make the best out of it. This Japanese tech giant also said that the mass production of IMX230 sensors will begin in April 2015, which might be a bit too late for us to see it included in the Xperia Z4, but who knows. We still don't know the release date of that device, though if Sony keeps to its schedule they've used thus far, Xperia Z3 will launch in Q1 2015. I hope that the company will find a way to include this sensor in the Z4, that might be one of the selling points for that device.