Dual-lens cameras could bring smartphones up another notch when it comes to photography, but they might not come as fast we had hoped. This information comes courtesy of Sony’s most recent earnings call for its third quarter.
During the call, Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed that its dual-lens will be featured in devices from “major smartphone players” over the next year. However, because high-end smartphones are slowing down, Yoshida believes the “real start, the takeoff of smartphones with dual-lens cameras will be in the year of 2017.”
Although only a prediction, Sony is one of the leaders when it comes to providing image sensors to smartphone manufacturers, so the company might know what its talking about.
However, if you read between the lines, there seems to be an opening for some adoption in 2016. Yoshida cleared used the word “takeoff,” which could mean that he believes that the majority of high-end smartphone manufacturers will adopt dual-lens cameras in 2017, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a few manufacturers jumping on board this year.
Dual-lens cameras are nothing new. The most recent rendition was from HTC with the One M8, but that was more of a gimmick than anything else. Future implementations of a dual-lens setup could bring smartphone camera quality closer to a DSLR. By using one lens for color information and the other for brightness, the quality of images could improve dramatically.
Apple’s most recent patent shows yet another advantage: the possibility of capturing video with one lens when zoomed out, while the second lens captures photos while zoomed in.
We have already heard rumors that Apple could offer a “premium” version of the iPhone 7 Plus later this year, which would sport a dual-lens camera. This speculation has been fueled by the fact that Apple recently bought Linx Computational Imaging, a company that specializes in using multiple sensors for capturing both 2D and 3D images. There are even reports that Apple is already testing dual-lens samples from a variety of manufacturers.
Then there is LG, who will launch the G5 later this month. That phone is also rumored to sport two lenses, one for the background and one for the subject.
Samsung has also been the center of many rumors as well, but the Galaxy S7 isn’t likely to sport a dual-lens camera based on leaks up to this point. However, it’s very possibly that Samsung could launch other Galaxy phones with dual-lenses later this year.
And of course, we can’t forget about Sony, which is likely to use its own dual-lens sensor for an Xperia flagship at some point.
So based on Sony’s prediction, 2017 looks to be a breakout year for the dual-lens camera, but we’re still holding out hope that 2016 will get the party started.