Samsung camera module focuses on improving image stabilization

Samsung Electronics is working on a new 13-megapixel camera module with optical image stabilization, an area where Samsung has fallen behind its competitors.

This year has seen smartphone vendors put their cameras front and center in their efforts to make their products stand out from the competition, and that trend seems likely to continue. Samsung's new camera module will go into production in the beginning of next year.

The company has worked to improve the ability to take good pictures in dark conditions while also implementing OIS (optical image stabilization). The latter has become increasingly common on high-end smartphones from the likes of LG Electronics, Nokia and Sony, but it is a feature Samsung's regular smartphones, including the Galaxy S4, lack.

Two camps have formed in the smartphone camera race, with HTC and Apple sticking with lower pixel counts, while Nokia has launched the 41-megapixel Lumia 1020 and Sony the Xperia Z1 with a 21-megapixel camera.

So far Samsung has sat in the middle: its Galaxy S4 has a 13-megapixel camera. The development of the new camera module hints that the company is planning to stick with that strategy, and not try to improve image quality with drastically higher pixel counts. Samsung's camera and smartphone hybrid, the Galaxy S4 zoom, has a 16-megapixel sensor with OIS and an optical zoom on the back. A version of that sensor could be an option for the S4's successor.

Samsung is working on a new camera technology called Isocell, as well. It aims to improve color reproduction in poor light by putting barriers between pixels. The first implementation of the technology uses 8 megapixels. That sensor is shipping in small volumes and Samsung will start mass producing it during the current quarter, it said.

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