Sony is going big with two new image sensors designed for smartphones and the like. The showstopper is the 16.41-megapixel Exmor R-based CMOS sensor, which is powerful enough to do away with blurry and washed-out cellphone photography, according to the company.
Sony is also revealing a smaller and less powerful 8.13-megapixel sensor, though both have "dramatically improved photographic performance including significantly high sensitivity and low noise" thanks to a back-illuminated sensor. By comparison, the iPhone 4 — much lauded for its ability to take crisp photos — is only sporting a 5-megapixel sensor. It takes more than megapixels to make an image of course, though Sony's Exmor duo has a larger resolution to work with, and both can shoot 1080p HD video.
What you and I can take away from this is that the difference between a cellphone and your average point-and-shoot digital camera — or digital camcorder, for that matter — is going to get a lot more blurred. The 16- and 8-megapixel sensors won't ship until January and April (respectively), and when they do find their way into products they'll boost the price up by quite a bit, at least for a while.
Still, tech moves fast. Cameras and camcorders are going to have to up the ante if they still want a place in one's gadget bag alongside a cameraphone that does a pretty good job already.