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Sony may be the first with a one-inch phone camera sensor

Huawei could be one of the first to use the hardware.
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Jon has been writing about tech almost since he left university, and has written for publications ranging from Electronista (which he co-founded) to AppleInsider. In addition to regularly writing at Android Authority, he's also known as one of Engadget's longest-serving editors. He likes to be the Switzerland of tech, recognizing the virtues and vices of all platforms.
• February 24, 2021
TL;DR
  • Sony is reportedly preparing the first one-inch phone camera sensor.
  • Huawei might be one of the first to use it, in the P50 series.
  • The sensor could arrive in April.

Sony might make even the largest phone cameras seem tiny before long. According to Gizmochina, established leaker Rodent950 claims Sony will release the first phone-oriented one-inch camera sensor, the IMX800, in April.

The tipster was shy on details. However, Huawei will reportedly be one of the first to use the giant Sony camera sensor in a handset, building it into the P50 series. That lineup would supplement the main sensor with ultra-wide and telephoto cameras, including periscope lenses on higher-end models.

Read more: The best camera phones

There’s no mention of just what the new Sony camera sensor could do. However, such a relatively large surface could improve low-light photography and produce a more pleasing bokeh (soft background blur) for portraits and other close-ups.

This wouldn’t be the first time a one-inch sensor found its way into a phone. Panasonic’s Lumix CM1 from 2014 stuffed the technology into a camera and phone hybrid. However, that device was using sensor tech originally designed for dedicated cameras — the Sony hardware would be purpose-built.

Just don’t expect the IMX800 to become ubiquitous, provided the rumor is accurate. A one-inch sensor is large even by the standards of modern phones, and could limit the available space for secondary cameras. The Sony sensor would more likely find its way into phones where space for cameras simply isn’t an issue. Still, it could be good news for mobile photo enthusiasts determined to leave mirrorless and point-and-shoot cams at home.

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