Qualcomm expects smartphones equipped with 64-megapixel cameras and higher to be released this year by various OEMs, according to a recent MySmartPrice interview with Qualcomm's Sr. Director of Product Management, Judd Heape. In the interview passed along by Android Authority, the executive also explained how some of its Snapdragon chipsets were updated to support 192-megapixel imaging earlier this week, and what its current plans for HDR10+ are.
How have the Snapdragon chipsets been updated to support 64-megapixel sensors?
Earlier this week Qualcomm updated the product pages for a number of Snapdragon chipsets to reveal that they support 192-megapixel imaging. As to how this feature was achieved, the short answer is it's always been there.
According to Judd Heape, the Snapdragon 660, 670, 675, 710, 845, and 855 have always supported 192-megapixel imaging but this characteristic was hidden because the higher resolution mode doesn't support 30fps or 60fps, nor multi-frame noise reduction and ZSL (zero shutter lag).
The maximum resolution supported by the chipsets was not advertised in the past because Qualcomm thought customers should know only about the resolutions that support the aforementioned technologies. However, since several OEMs have equipped some of their recent smartphones with cameras boasting a higher resolution than what was advertised for the Snapdragon chipsets they employ, the chipset maker decided to adjust its spec sheets to reflect the OEMs' configurations.
The race for higher-resolution mobile cameras continues
Some smartphone OEMs including Samsung and Sony have abandoned the race for higher resolution cameras in favor of bigger sensors and fewer but larger pixels, thus resulting in better mobile photography. But other manufacturers – particularly those from China – are still competing in this area and continue to push resolutions higher every year.
This trend will not change in 2019 either and according to the Qualcomm executive, several OEMs are now collaborating with mobile camera manufacturers to create smartphones equipped with units that have a resolution of 64-megapixels or even higher than 100-megapixels. These mysterious devices are said to launch by the end of the year.
The executive didn't reveal any specific OEMs but by looking at the flagship phones released so far in 2019, it's relatively safe to assume that Xiaomi, Honor, and Vivo are among these manufacturers. The aforementioned trio already launched devices equipped with 48-megapixel cameras and there's no reason to believe they won't push for an even higher pixel count.
Next Snapdragon flagship chipset will have its own HDR10+ implementation
The current implementation of HDR10+ based on the HDR10 industry standard was developed and introduced by Samsung and Amazon in 2017. In the recent interview, Judd Heape confirmed that Qualcomm is now working on its own HDR10+ implementation which will contain scene-by-scene and frame-by-frame metadata.
This will be a new addition to Qualcomm's chipset solutions so it won't be achieved by editing a spec sheet. The Snapdragon 855 does support HDR10+ but again, this is a Samsung implementation and not something developed in-house by the U.S.-based chipset manufacturer.
Qualcomm expects its next flagship-grade chipset to launch alongside its own take on HDR10+ which sounds like it will compete with Samsung's existing solution, even though the HDR10+ is an open, royalty-free standard.
Interestingly, the executive referred to the next-gen chipset as the Snapdragon 865. He underlined that the name has not been set in stone but even if it may still be subject to change, it does follow Qualcomm's naming scheme for its top-tier Snapdragon chipset series.