Tuesday in CE: Sony is Light-years Ahead of Competition With Prototype Smartphone Camera
The smartphone camera has a long and exciting career. For a long time, cameras were not only the main selling point; they were the only reason to have a smartphone. Every year cameras got a few more megapixels, a better flash, more compatible software, and eventually a second lens.
However, manufacturers have seemingly hit a point of diminishing returns regarding hardware, because the strength of software is taking over. The prime example is Google's flagship Pixel, a single lens smartphone that is wholly supported by robust software to keep it in the conversation.
That hasn't stopped Sony from producing a new camera module that is a little bit of both. Right at the end of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, a small keynote showed off their cutting-edge technology.
The secret sauce is in Sony's new Image Signal Processor, aptly named the Sony Fusion ISP, and it fires off both cameras simultaneously to take in an obscene amount of light. Sony claims that the camera technology they are pushing out delivers “unprecedented ISO sensitivity 51200 for photos and ISO 12800 for video.” For comparison, most flagship phones hit an ISO of about 3200, rarely hitting 6400.
In other words, Sony is packing DSLR level photo and video reproduction into their smartphones, eventually. And according to Sony, it's a big emphasis on eventually. This is a technology that Sony wants to get right before they put it in a smartphone. "We want to make sure these cameras talk well with each other and really achieve something that can push the boundaries of the camera technology,” vice president of marketing Don Mesa told BGR during a brief interview.
Samsung Does the Most Samsung Thing Ever With Clever Smartphone Marketing
It would be hard to say we at Dealerscope aren't impressed with the mechanical aperture on Samsung's new Galaxy S9. It looks super slick and, although isn't a world first, has certainly been vacant from the smartphone scene since 2009. But, in typically Samsung fashion, they have overhyped a technology that ultimately gives a pretty standard response as far as industry competition is concerned.
The mechanical aperture allows the smartphone to hit two f-stops, f/1.5 and f/2.4. Typically, flagship smartphones hang out around f/1.8 for wide-angle shooting, with a telephoto lens getting the f/2.4 treatment. A quick lesson in f-stops basically means how much light a lens lets in, with higher numbers creating a "flat" picture and lower numbers making the beloved portrait effect. If a light source has more time to travel to the lens, it has more time to be revealed in the picture.
All this to say, Samsung lets the user pick between two f-stops for better situational shooting, and to hang their hat on marketing nonsense. Is the mechanical aperture a welcome change of pace? Yes. Is it a clear upgrade over its competition, including 2017 flagships? Not really. Will it revolutionize the smartphone industry and create a clear lead for the South Korean flagship phone? Probably not.
While I do applaud Samsung for doing something relatively different over its competition, their marketing should be taken with a grain of salt.
Best of the Rest of the Net
- Google has received over 2.4 million requests to remove URLs from its search engine under Europe’s “right to be forgotten” laws since they were introduced in May 2014.
- Apple may launch a new subsidiary company tasked with providing healthcare clinics to Apple employees, AC Wellness.
- MacRumors reports that Apple now faces 59 class action suits in 16 courts in the US, which includes 30 filed in the Northern District of California.