More Android smartphones will embrace triple-camera setups in 2019 and some may even go beyond that lens count, according to Lin En-ping, Chief Executive Officer of mobile imaging equipment manufacturer Largan Precision. The industry veteran pointed to the success of Huawei's P20 Pro, the world's first Android flagship with a triple-camera setup, as the main reason for what he expects to become a major trend. The Taiwanese manufacturer is presently working on 7P lens modules with seven plastic lens pieces, as well as 5P periscope hardware, and expects both to become available in large volumes come next year.
Mr. Lin doesn't believe the global demand for mobile lenses will decrease even as phone shipments and sales now appear to be stagnating precisely due to the fact that multiple-camera setups are still gaining traction in the industry so even in an unrealistic scenario in which the market goes on a steep decline, the fact that two-sensor systems are now rising to prominence and more OEMs are expected to follow the P20 Pro formula would likely keep the lens demand stable. The executive also doesn't expect glass-and-plastic lens systems to penetrate the mobile market in a significant manner in the near term, having said their main advantages and drawbacks of such technologies make them more suitable for automotive and action camera applications than smartphones.
Between the growing popularity of multiple-camera setups and the emergence of 3D imaging systems capable of advanced depth sensing akin to those found on Apple's iPhone X and Xiaomi's Mi 8, Largan will be expanding its operations with a new factory that will be twice as large as its existing one, with Mr. Lin hoping the location will be picked in collaboration with the Taiwanese government. French imaging company DxOMark also believes triple- and quadruple-camera setups will enter the mainstream in the near term, with one of its executives saying as much in a recent interview with AndroidHeadlines.