Toshiba launches new T4K37 13MP smartphone / tablet image sensor

toshibaPhotography has become a serious feature within smartphones since the likes of the HTC One and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 began including optical image stabilisation (OIS) and vastly improved image processing.

Japanese giant Toshiba looks set to cash in on this boom in high-quality smartphone photography by announcing production of its own T4K37 image sensor. The sensor is a CMOS (complementary metal-oxide silicon) design with 13MP and supports full-frame video capture at up to 30 frames per second.

According to The Inquirer, the new sensor has enough processing horsepower to handle video capture of all 13MP at up to 30fps, but it’s unlikely we’ll see any smartphones capable of shifting that much data any time soon. The up-coming release of eight-core chips may well get close to handling that, but at this stage, it remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to process that many pixels into H.264 video encoding. (By then, it could also be H.265 HVC format).

More than likely, however, Toshiba will be building in the ability to capture 4K video on a smartphone device. As the growth in 4K TV begins later this year/early next year, 4K content will be highly sought after. Any smartphone that can offer 4K video capture will definitely have an edge.

There are three main factors that set image quality – the image sensor, the lens quality and the ability of the image signal processing chip. HTC’s One smartphone has gained plenty of kudos for its image processing capability even though it only has a 4MP image sensor. If the T4K37 can match the HTC One’s sensor for image noise, it’ll give smartphone makers a new top-drawer option to choose from.

The Toshiba sensor is said to begin production today.


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