HTC M7 saying goodbye to megapixels, hello to Ultrapixels?

Three camera sensors

The HTC M7, widely believed to be unveiled at a press event this month, may not measure its camera resolution in megapixels. Would you believe “Ultrapixels”? That’s the word from Pocket-Lint, which quotes sources familiar with the matter saying the smartphone will have not one, but three camera sensors for images:

The new camera will instead be made up of three 4.3-megapixel sensor layers that are used to combine into a single resulting image. Three lots of 4.3 may add up to around 13-megapixels, but images from HTC’s latest won’t be output at that larger size.

The technique, similar to that used by Sigma in the Foveon X3 sensor, means that three lots of data can represent one final pixel. All that extra data can be intelligently “combined” to generate a crisper, cleaner image and, in the case of the Foveon sensor, better colour accuracy.

I’ll be at HTC’s press event taking place in New York City in a few weeks, so perhaps I’ll get a chance to see for myself if this rumor turns out to be true. And it wouldn’t surprise me if it does.

Although HTC gained much market share and profit by embracing Google’s Android operating system early, it later succumbed to Samsung’s rise, thanks to that company’s loaded line of Galaxy smartphones. To compensate, HTC has tried (and generally failed) to stand out from the crowd with some key features: A new ImageSense camera chip and an investment in Beats Audio.

HTC doesn’t have the market dollars of a Samsung, so in order to remain in the market, it must find ways to be different. A camera solution such as the one Pocket-Lint’s sources describes is one possible, and feasible, way to do so.

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