Toshiba’s new camera module might bring Lytro-like features to your next phone

January 8, 2014
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TOSHIBA AMERICA ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS, INC.

Toshiba wants to put a Lytro-like camera in your next smartphone, if any manufacturer decides to pick up the new camera module.

The Toshiba TCM9518MD may not have the most memorable name, but that doesn’t make its feature set any less interesting. The camera module uses to 5MP sensors and a processing chip to bring some of the Lytro camera’s feature to smartphones along with some new features.

Using the two sensors, the Toshiba TCM9518MD can let users take photos and set the focus at any point after, just like the Lytro. There’s also a few other features that aren’t available in the Lytro or any conventional smartphone camera. Those features include the ability to take a macro shot while keeping the background in focus and the ability to blur the background around your subject after taking the a photo.

While the TCM9518MD uses two 5MP cameras, the dedicated processing chip actually creates 13MP images when it processes each photo. That way users can still take giant photos, and smartphone manufacturers can still claim any devices that use the new system can take 13MP photos.

There’s no word on if any manufacturers are interesting in the Toshiba TCM9518MD, but hopefully at least one company tries it out. The module should help any phone stand out from the plethora of other Android phones on store shelves. And the idea of getting Lytro-like features without spending $500 on the dedicated camera is really appealing.

Would you consider buying a smartphone that uses Toshiba’s new camera module?

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