True colors come first for Samsung's new smartphone camera tech

The Isocell technology uses barriers between pixels to improve image quality

Want to take a smartphone picture with high color fidelity even in poor light? Samsung Electronics has developed a new technology that it claims will deliver just that.

This year has seen smartphone vendors put their cameras front and center in their efforts to make their products stand out from the crowd. Two camps have formed, with HTC and Apple sticking with lower pixel counts, while Nokia has launched the 41-megapixel Lumia 1020 and Sony the Xperia Z1 with a 21-megapixel camera.

So far Samsung has sat in the middle: its Galaxy S4 has a 13-megapixel camera. But the development of the Isocell technology shows that Samsung may be leaning toward the HTC and Apple camp: the first implementation of its new Isocell technology uses only 8 megapixels.

The quality of an image sensor is determined by the amount of light that is accurately captured by the individual pixels, according to Samsung. To improve color reproduction, the new Isocell technology uses a physical barrier between neighboring pixels, it said.

The technology also allows Samsung to reduce the height of the camera module, making it a good fit for slimmer smartphones.

The 8-megapixel Isocell-based sensor is now shipping in small volumes and Samsung will start mass producing it in the last quarter of this year, it said.

The company didn't reveal if the sensor would be used in the successor to the Galaxy S4. But Samsung did say premium smartphones and tablets that integrate sensors based on Isocell would have improved camera performance.

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