64-megapixel phone cameras are coming

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Samsung has announced a new image sensor for mobile phones with a higher resolution than anything comparable on the market. The ISOCELL Bright GW1 is a 64-megapixel sensor that uses the same 0.8μm-sized pixels as Samsung’s current 48-megapixel component, meaning it’ll be a physically larger sensor that can capture more light overall.

The Bright GW1 will produce 16-megapixel images by merging four pixels into one, like how existing 48-megapixel sensors turn out 12-megapixel photos by default. Samsung’s new sensor will also be able to descramble the color filter for full-resolution 64-megapixel shots in good light. Sony’s IMX586 48-megapixel sensor has a similar capability, but Samsung’s doesn’t; today the Korean company is also announcing an updated 48-megapixel part that offers the same feature.

48-megapixel cameras are now a common sight on phones: Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, and others have all shipped devices with the sensors. Samsung expects its 64-megapixel part to go into mass production in the second half of this year, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the feature show up on spec sheets for late-2019 flagships — particularly if image sensor market leader Sony follows suit.