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An unknown company just set a new standard for smartphone cameras

Tecno PolarAce Imaging System.

In addition to showing off some fascinating concept phones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, Tecno has also announced a groundbreaking new image processing system that could change the way we capture videos on our smartphones.

The innovative technology brand is calling it the PolarAce Imaging System, and it’s powered by a Sony imaging chip that allows it to capture full 4K HDR video at 30 frames per second with AI-based noise reduction technology — an industry first.

A new era of smartphone video

Tecno PolarAce Imaging System.

In developing PolarAce, Tecno worked with Sony’s Lytia division and the Sony CXD5622GG imaging chip to provide the image processing power, on which it then laid on its own multi-skin tone and AI imaging technologies to create a unique video processing chip that goes beyond what most integrated system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions can deliver.

For example, Tecno explains that many smartphone users struggle with capturing video in low-light or night environments along with full-scene HDR videography. Sony’s imaging chip has the horsepower to address these issues thanks to its unique floating-point computing capabilities that allow PolarAce to provide almost lossless image quality and far lower energy consumption than other image signal processors (ISPs).

The PolarAce ISP uses four engines in its processing pipeline. NeuroNR Turbo first uses AI to reduce noise in the RAW image, after which NeuroColor Turbo optimizes the colors for true-to-life skin tones, NeuroHDR Turbo improves the video quality, and NeuroFPS Turbo smooths things out, even for longer recordings.

The AI engines have also been tuned to handle low light in a whole new way, bringing what Techo calls 4K Ultra Night Vision. Tecno’s AI-powered Universal Tone technology provides accurate skin tones for diverse subjects.

Powerful AI features

Tecno PolarAce Imaging System sample photos.

PolarAce also includes generative AI technology for capturing portraits, with AI One Click Erase similar to Google’s Magic Eraser, and the ability to let users generate their own portrait disguised and backgrounds, placing them in wedding dresses, cartoon dolls, formal attire, and more, without the need for third-party apps.

“Our commitment and goal has always been to deliver the best mobile imaging experience to Tecno users around the world to meet diverse imaging needs,” said Jack Guo, General Manager of Tecno. “Previously, we have revolutionized smartphone imaging with innovations such as the advanced RGBW Ultra-Sensitive Sensor and the world’s first retractable portrait lens. Tecno PolarAce, our first imaging system with an independent imaging chip, leverages our partnership with Sony to signal a new era of extraordinary smartphone video imaging.”

Tecno will be launching the PolarAce Imaging System in its upcoming Camon 30 Premier 5G smartphone, set to arrive in the second quarter of 2024. It will include a 70mm periscope lens for ideal portrait shots with less barrel distortion and a hybrid zoom of up to 60x. Sony’s chip will serve as the ISP alongside a MediaTek Dimensity 8200 as the primary chipset.

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