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Samsung and Xiaomi develop photo sensor

Aug 13,2019
Samsung Electronics’ Isocell Bright HMX [SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS]
Samsung Electronics introduced an image sensor for mobile phones on Monday, the first in the world to offer more than 100 megapixels.

The semiconductor will be used on a high-end phone made by China’s Xiaomi.

Image sensors are crucial components in digital cameras as they convert information obtained through a lens into digital signals. The greater the number of pixels, the higher the resolution.

Named the Isocell Bright HMX, the new chip offers 108 megapixels, which according to Samsung, is equivalent to that of a high-end DSLR camera. The highest resolution available for smartphone cameras in the market currently is 48 megapixels. The latest image sensor released last year by Sony, the No. 1 manufacturer of image sensors, was also 48 megapixels.

The Monday release is the company’s latest 0.8-micrometer image sensor, following a 64-megapixel sensor unveiled in May and 20-, 32- and 48-megapixel sensors that came before. The 0.8-micrometer designation is the size of the pixel, which is the smallest available in the market.

Isocell Bright HMX is also embedded with Samsung’s Tetracell technology, which allows sensors to take brighter photos in the dark by merging four pixels to work as one. The Smart-ISO function automatically adjusts the camera settings to produce vivid photos in very bright or dark environments.

The Isocell Bright HMW is a collaboration between Samsung and Xiaomi. The collaboration was teased at Xiaomi’s Images of the Future Conference last Wednesday when the Chinese company announced it was working with Samsung on a 100-megapixel camera. At the same event, Xiaomi announced it would use Samsung’s 64-megapixel image sensors in its upcoming Redmi phones.

“For Isocell Bright HMX, Xiaomi and Samsung have worked closely together from the early conceptual stage to production that has resulted in a groundbreaking 108-megapixel image sensor,” said Lin Bin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi.

“We are very pleased that picture resolutions previously available only in a few top-tier DSLR cameras can now be designed into smartphones,” he said.

The new image sensor will start mass production at the end of this month.

A world leader in memory chips, Samsung is pushing for growth in its relatively weak non-memory business.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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