Toshiba and Samsung start 13 mpx camera CMOS sensor production. With Sony monopoly lifted, megapixel war resumes
Do you know why we have so few 13 megapixel smartphones so far? And why even major smartphone OEMs have to reduce camera resolution to 8 megapixels in everything except flagships? See Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, or Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra.
It’s because up until recently, nobody except Sony was able to produce a good enough quality 13 megapixel camera sensor chips in volume. And even Sony themselves couldn’t make enough of them, to satisfy all the demand. So they could keep 13 mpx camera sensor price pretty high, affordable on only the most expensive devices.
But things are about to change soon. Both Toshiba and Samsung have finally figured out 13 megapixel camera CMOS image sensor manufacturing and quality issues, and are now starting volume production of these chips.
Toshiba announced their imaging chip on July 5th, and will start shipping T4K37 13 megapixel backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS image sensor in early December, for $20 apiece.
Samsung LSI division (responsible for design and manufacturing of all Samsung chips), is now mass producing their own 13 megapixel CMOS sensors, too. And, according to industry insiders, already has the order for 80 to 90 million of them from Samsung Electronics mobile unit.
The good news here is, that with Sony’s monopoly on 13 megapixel camera sensors lifted, the prices for them should start coming down fast and availability will increase. So from next year, or maybe even before Christmas, you will start seeing Galaxy S4/Xperia Z level cameras in midrange devices.
And what about upcoming flagship smartphones, you may ask? That’s easy. On to 20 megapixels and beyond, with Sony Xperia i1 leading the way. (Nokia 1020 is a special case here – nobody is likely to catch up to them in imaging department anytime soon).
Despite some proclamations, it seems that megapixel war in smartphone cameras is far from over. And a few years lull at 8 megapixel level, was simply an armistice until manufacturers figured out some technological problems.
Now that they did, expect some cool action real soon.