Over the past few years, smartphone cameras have become powerful enough to be used as alternatives to regular point-and-shoots. Not surprisingly, then, more and more smartphone owners are today interested in the camera capabilities of a handset, and smartphone manufacturers are starting to catch up to expectations.
Apple’s iPhones have been held in high regards for their image capturing and video recording capabilities, but truth be told, these characteristics are not exclusive to Apple’s finest anymore. Sony takes pride in its Exmor RS sensor, Nokia has impressed with its PureView technology, and even HTC has switched gears with its UltraPixel sensor, in a quest to prove that when it comes to megapixels, size is not the only thing.
Smartphone manufacturers have invested heavily in the camera department, an effort that could really pay off by the end of the year. Rumors have recently begun to swirl around a handful of camera-centric smartphones, suggesting that we might witness a “cameraphone revolution” sometime in Q3 – Q4 2013.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Sony Honami – Rumors
Though Sony offers one of the best cameras on the Android market right now, it seems that the company wants to step it up a notch. According to several rumors, Sony is working on a camera-centric smartphone known under the codename “Honami” (which would allegedly go on sale under the name of Sony i1).
Spec-wise, this device will allegedly pack a Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.3 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage expandable via microSD, a 5-inch 1080p Triluminous display, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and a 2,930 mAh battery. The Honami is also rumored to come with a dedicated WALKMAN chip and liquid magnetic mobile speakers.
But what interests us most in this context is that the Honami is also reported to feature a 16.2 MP sensor borrowed from the Cyber-shot camera series. Additionally, a new image processing algorithm is said to be on board, as well as a G Lens and Xenon flash or Dual LED / Plasma Flash.
Google Nexus 5 – To Pack a Nikon-Based Camera?
Though the Nexus 5 hasn’t been unveiled during the Google I/O event, contrary to earlier speculation, it doesn’t mean the device is not going to eventually hit the shelves. Now that Google I/O has come and gone, we’re expecting the Nexus 5 to be unveiled roughly within the same timeframe in which the Nexus 4 was revealed last year.
In any case, we’re here to discuss about camera-centric smartphones, so what’s this about the Nexus 5? Well, apparently there have been several reports claiming that Google will focus on delivering a great “camera experience” with its next smartphone.
Judging by these reports, the Nexus 5 will probably arrive with a 5-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 600 CPU, a large 3,140 camera and Android 5.0 (or at least 4.3 if Key Lime Pie will not be unveiled by then).
But what interests us right now is that sources of Phone Arena have claimed that the Nexus 5 will feature a Nikon branded sensor that will be one of the biggest selling points of the device. According to these rumors, the testing module is already better than anything else on the smartphone market right now.
Nokia EOS / Lumia PureView
When it comes to camera-centric Nokia smartphones, the first device that pops into my mind is the 808 PureView, a smartphone that features a beastly 41 MP PureView camera with a 1/1.2″ sensor, ND filter, Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash and more.
Unfortunately, this handset hasn’t been one of the most popular, despite its amazing camera capabilities. It runs on Nokia Belle OS in a world where people expect Windows Phone 8, the hardware is not especially powerful, and availability-wise … well let’s just say that it’s difficult to find one in certain regions.
The good news is that the Finnish manufacturer could also have a new cameraphone in the works. To be more precise, some time ago The Verge reported that a so-called Nokia EOS Lumia PureView (or a combination of those names) is scheduled for release in June. This handset will allegedly be similar to the aforementioned 808 PureView, but as its moniker suggests, it will be powered by Windows Phone 8.
Closing Lines and the Samsung Galaxy Zoom
As a reminder, we’ve already discussed the Samsung Galaxy Zoom – which seems to be the Korean manufacturer’s response to the now-evolving cameraphone market. If you would like to learn more about the Zoom you can do so by reading our previous entry regarding Samsung’s smartphone line-up.
In the end, you need to keep in mind that all the information above is speculative. However, even if this early data is not entirely in line with what transpires, the fact of the matter is that this year there’s a lot of buzz about cameraphones. Even though there’s a chance that the above handsets will be released under different names and with slightly different hardware specs, the evidence thus far suggests that we’re still going to see a lot of camera-centric devices being released in the second half of 2013.
Which one would you be more interested in? Do you consider cameraphones to be the “Next Big Thing”? Feel free to share your thoughts.
Vlad Andrici is editor for gforgames.com and writes about technology issues.