The megapixel race, according to HTC, is stupid. Don't tell that to Aptina though, who just announced two new camera sensors, the AR1230 and the AR1330. The former is a 12 megapixel sensor, while the latter is a 13 megapixel part. Both can capture 1080p video at 96 frames per second; more importantly, both also capture 4K video at 30 frames per second.
What's 4K video? It's the video format that comes after HDTV. This year we should see a bunch of 4K televisions hit the market, but truth be told, the standard isn't going to take off until the industry figures out how to distribute 4K content. The guys at The Verge recently spoke to Sony about 4K video, and Sony says each movie will be around 100 GB. That's bananas, and a total nightmare for your internet service provider. New video codecs like h.265 will help reduce file sizes, but still, we're talking serious bandwidth here.
But back to these new image sensors, when are we going to see them in commercial hardware? Aptina says this year, specifically the latter half. Who is going to use Aptina's sensors? Good question. Both Apple and Samsung, the only two companies that really matter at this point, use Sony sensors. Maybe Aptina's parts will be used in devices from less prestigious brands? We honestly don't know.
What comes after 13 megapixels? We actually hope the industry stops this painful march towards higher and higher pixel counts and instead focuses on image quality. HTC has a serious pair of balls to introduce a 4 megapixel flagship smartphone in 2013, but you know what, it's the right thing to do. Larger pixels, not more pixels, result in better photos. The optics also need to be perfect, because what's the point of sticking a piece of shit plastic on top of an otherwise highly capable image sensor?
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