Samsung re-enters the megapixel race, will push 16-megapixel phones in 2014


Camera phones have jumped in popularity during 2013, with Nokia leading the way with its Lumia range, while Sony and Samsung followed with high-end hardware such as the Xperia Z1 and the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Megapixels have become less important, with manufacturers highlighting special features, apps, and technology such as image stabilization instead. However, the battle for supremacy in the niche isn’t slowing down, and a report has leaked Samsung’s 2014 plans to bring high megapixel sensors to a large portion of its phones.

According to ETNews in Korea, Samsung intends to fit one in four of its smartphones with a 16-megapixel camera next year, which based in its projected sales figures, could mean 90 million Samsung phones floating around with high-end camera hardware fitted. While it sees the 16-megapixel camera as being the standard for smartphone cameras next year, it’s already developing 20-megapixel cameras for its 2015 range, ensuring it keeps pace with the competition. 

However, while the 20-megapixel cameras aren’t going to become common in Samsung’s range until 2015, we could see the first example go on sale towards the end of next year. As it would inevitably debut on a top-of-the-range phone, the timing fits in with the potential launch of the fourth generation Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet hybrid. Rumors have already pointed to the Galaxy S5 having a 16-megapixel camera.

Samsung’s decision to concentrate on upping the megapixel count on its phones may be influenced by its inability to introduce another feature: Optical image stabilization. This is a popular addition to several top camera phones, and it has been rumored for inclusion on both the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3. However, it’s estimated Samsung needs 50 million OIS-capable modules, and demand simply can’t be met by suppliers.

Thanks to Samsung’s success, of which it’s now a victim, it looks like the megapixel race – which had leveled out recently – will restart over the coming months.

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