|A promotional image for Samsung Semiconductors’ 108MP ISOCELL Bright HMX mobile camera sensor.|
Known smartphone leaker Ice Universe has shared a leaked slide from Samsung Semiconductor presentation that suggests the company is looking to push the boundaries of its ISOCELL image sensor technology, going so far as to question the possibility of putting a 600MP sensor inside a mobile device.
|The leaked slide from Ice Universe. Click to enlarge.|
While Samsung Semiconductor has already revealed its 108MP ISOCELL Bright HMX mobile camera sensor, the company has expressed continued interest in further increasing the resolution of its sensors. In an interview with Android Authority back in September, Samsung Semiconductor sensor marketing head Jinhyun Kwon said the ‘ultimate goal’ was a 500MP sensor. But it seems as though the company is looking even further ahead, as the leaked slide suggests a 1/0.57” 600MP sensor with 0.8μm pixels could be on the horizon.
Samsung is really doing 600MP sensors! pic.twitter.com/vGgsfxsGGh
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) December 5, 2020
As you might expect, such a massive sensor would bring a number of challenges, which Samsung appears to be well aware of. As illustrated in the slide, a 600MP sensor with 0.8μm pixels would result in a camera bump that measures 22mm thick — roughly three times the thickness of the current camera bump on the Galaxy S20. In addition to thickness, the camera module would occupy a large portion of the smartphone’s internal volume and take up a large area on the rear of the device.
|A graphic showing Samsung’s Tetracell technology that’s being used in its new 108MP mobile sensors.|
To get the camera module to a more reasonable size, Samsung would need to further shrink the pixels inside its sensors. The company has already showed off its ISOCELL HM2 sensor with 0.7μm pixels, but to get to 600MP without a massive camera bump, it still has a ways to go.
It’s worth noting again this leaked slide doesn’t confirm the existence of such a sensor, only that Samsung is suggesting the possibility of such a high-resolution sensor. As for the question ‘why?’ the slide suggests the ‘trend’ of consumers wanting more zoom in their smartphone cameras, as well as better 4K and 8K video performance.
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