The megapixel wars for smartphones has been reignited, thanks to camera companies releasing higher megapixel count sensors for smartphones, going from 48MP, to 64MP and then to 108MP. While the practical utility of staying at just 0.8μm pixel size is debatable and several arguments can be made for and against it, the fact still remains that we can expect more and more companies to adopt these high megapixel sensors in the near future. In fact, from the evidence that we have studied, Xiaomi is themselves working on as many as four phones with a 108MP camera as its primary rear camera.
We track development for a lot of unreleased devices from several companies, and Xiaomi is one of the fun companies to track. We have previously found evidence of Xiaomi working on two phones with popup cameras, which turned out to be the Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro. Similarly, we have now found evidence that suggests that several devices from Xiaomi will come with the 108MP sensor, likely to be the Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor.
MIUI‘s Mi Gallery app is adding in support for viewing 108MP photos in full resolution. However, this support is added in specifically for devices codenamed “tucana“, “draco“, “umi” and “cmi“. All four of these codenames belong to unreleased devices from Xiaomi, but they could be split between the Mi and Redmi branding. We also expect the sensor in use here to be the Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor, as Sony has not yet detailed a competing sensor.
The mere ability to view 108MP images isn’t complete proof that all four of these phones will support capturing 108MP photos, but we are willing to bet on it. In the past, Gallery apps from several OEMs, including Xiaomi, did not allow you to actually zoom into the full size of large photos captured through these high megapixel count sensors. Part of this problem was remedied when the first 48MP phones launched, as the Gallery apps gained the ability to zoom into the full size of the photo. Thus, it is a logical progression for a Gallery app to support full-resolution 108MP previews with a phone that supports a 108MP camera. It would certainly be odd if these devices could support viewing these 108MP images without having the ability to capture them in the first place. We also do not know what other specifications will come along with the 108MP camera – we have a few early thoughts, but not enough evidence to confirm or deny anything.
Interestingly, we do not believe that any of these devices is the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4. We have been parallelly tracking the development of what we believe is the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4, but this device does not find any mentions within the code suggested above. Other sources in the past have suggested that the Mi Mix 4 will come with the Bright HMX sensor, but we have yet to come across reliable evidence of the same. Xiaomi’s official teaser only alludes that a Mi branded device will come with a 108MP sensor, but does not explicitly confirm any other details.