The race for more pixels is back and Samsung is once again on the forefront. Following the launch of the first 108-megapixel image sensor for smartphones, the South Korean company is now working to further increase the pixel count. According to a new report from Korea, Samsung is working on a 150-megapixel sensor for smartphones.
The 150-megapixel sensor has been requested by Chinese phone makers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo. Apparently, the companies had initially asked for a 200-megapixel sensor from Samsung. The Chinese trio had made the request in December last year.
However, technical difficulties with production yield mean Samsung was not able to deliver this on time. The companies eventually settled on 150 million pixels. It seems one can easily expect a 200-megapixel image sensor from Samsung by the end of next year.
Xiaomi plans to utilize the 150-megapixel shooter in one of its flagships coming out in Q4 2020. Oppo and Vivo, meanwhile, are looking to employ this next-gen camera in the first quarter of 2021. The new sensor will reportedly be paired with the unannounced Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 chipset.
Samsung develops 150-megapixel image sensor
Samsung's upcoming 150-megapixel image sensor uses the same Nonacell technology that can be found on the Galaxy S20 Ultra's ISOCELL Bright HM1 sensor. It combines nine neighboring pixels to create a large pixel to achieve higher light absorption. This way, the camera produces high-resolution images even in low-light conditions.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra's 108-megapixel sensor delivers 12-megapixel shots in resolution. Going by this, the 150-megapixel sensor should produce 16-megapixel images using pixel binning. However, thanks to the Nonacell tech, the photos taken by these sensors benefit from much higher light absorption.
The 108-megapixel ISOCELL Bright HM1 sensor has a footprint of around 0.76 inches. The addition of a few million more pixels means the new sensor will be nearly 1-inch in size.
Samsung might be creating this sensor for its clients in China, but that doesn't mean it will not use the sensor in one of its future phones. If not the exact same, a variation of it will likely make way into a Samsung flagship as well.
Xiaomi's Mi Note 10 was the world's first smartphone to feature Samsung's 108-megapixel image sensor. That phone launched in Q4 2019. Samsung eventually launched the Galaxy S20 Ultra as its first 108-megapixel camera phone.
Going by this timeline, we might see Samsung launch the Galaxy S21 next year with the new 150-megapixel image sensor. The Galaxy Note 20 will most likely keep the S20 Ultra's 108-megapixel module.