Sony is preparing a 1 inch camera sensor for smartphones, could be ready by April

Huawei P50 pro could be the first phone to be launched with the new sensor

Not to be outdone by Samsung – which recently announced its own brand new Isocell GN2 sensor – it’s claimed Sony is readying an even larger sensor for smartphones. Sony might make even the largest phone cameras seem tiny before long. Established leaker Rodent950 from GizmoChina claims that 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.

Sony’s 1-Inch Sensor in a Phone Almost Sounds Insane.

Huawei’s 2020 flagship camera phones – P40 Pro and Mate 40 Pro – use the Sony IMX700 (the previous generation), which was incredible in its own right. At the time, it was one of the biggest sensors in a phone at 1/1.28-inch.

It stands to reason then that Huawei continues to improve its camera offering by using the next generation sensor from the same supplier. A 1-inch sensor would go a long way to maintaining its position at the top of the camera pile.

Last year, Huawei announced the P50 range at the end of March, which means a retail launch would normally be in the following months, depending on region.

While Huawei phones have a lost a lot of relevance in markets outside China recently, the phone-maker still delivers some of the best camera phones on the planet, and one way to improve that is to increase the size of the sensor and the pixels on that sensor.

There is not much information on what the 1-inch sensor will be capable of doing. Still, if you are looking at it from a photography or a videography perspective, a larger sensor would mean better low-light performance, as well as more bokeh.


It is also important to know that this is not the first time since a 1-inch sensor makes its way into a phone. Panasonic did something with their Lumix CM1 back in 2014. However, that was a phone and camera hybrid, and that sensor technology was primarily built for proper cameras. What Sony is doing here is building this sensor purely for smartphones.

In addition to that, you should know that a 1-inch sensor, even by smartphone standards, is pretty big and could potentially limit space for other camera sensors that normally go on the back. This means that we should not be expecting this sensor to appear in every other flagship that we see, as this sensor makes more sense for phones where space for cameras is not an issue.

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.

Seeing that the mobile industy is now almost at the place where a 1-inch sensor can be placed in side a proper phone is pretty incredible, and we can’t wait to see what results will be like from Sony’s upcoming sensor.

Kiran Fernandes

Kiran is your friendly neighbourhood tech enthusiast who's passionate about all kinds of tech, goes crazy over 4G and 5G networks, and has recently sparked an interest in sci-fi and cosmology.

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