Android Central

Unannounced device also starting to appear in retailer inventory systems

As we count down the days to HTC's Feb. 19 announcement event, the rumors surrounding its upcoming "M7" handset are starting to intensify. The latest details to appear come from UK tech blog Pocket-Lint, which claims to have knowledge of some unique technology at work in the phone's rear camera.

Earlier rumors had suggested the device would pack a 13-megapixel camera, but Pocket-Lint, citing "sources familiar with the matter," says that's not quite true. Instead, it reports that the M7 camera will feature a 4.3 "ultrapixel" sensor consisting of three 4.3-megapixel sensor layers, one for each primary color, which combine to form a single image. So while technically a total of 13 megapixels will be captured, the end result will be a much sharper 4.3-megapixel image.

It's a technique similar to what's used in Nokia's 808 Pureview phone, with its whopping 41-megapixel rear camera. That device can use similar trickery to produce sharper 8-megapixel images. But HTC's method, it's said, is unique in that it uses a multi-layered sensor rather than larger, single-layer setup. That's apparently where the "ultrapixel" branding comes in -- effectively, it's a 4.3-megapixel camera, but the use of multiple layers means it should be far superior to standard sensors of this size.

In other M7 news, the device has appeared in inventory systems over at Carphone Warehouse in the UK, and Vodafone in Germany. The two separate leaks seem to confirm that the M7 will initially ship in black and silver versions. As for the final marketing name, we're still not convinced that "M7" is anything other than a codename, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens at HTC's launch events in London and NYC on Feb. 19.

Source: Pocket-Lint (2), PhoneArena


Reader comments

HTC M7 rumored to carry 4.3-'ultrapixel' camera


It didn't work for Sigma, why does HTC think it will work for them?

People want to see large MPix numbers to "know" they are getting the best camera.


Sadly people believe MPix matters. You can have all the megapixels in the world and it won't matter if your lens and sensor are horrible.

But if your lens and sensor aren't horrible?

Let's be honest, horrible sensors are fading into distant memories, precisely because of the techniques employed by HTC and others. The old excuse for denigrating higher megapixel camera is being overtaken by technology. People have been parroting the megapixel myth mantra for 10 years, while the engineers who actually build these things just ignore them, and continue to prove them wrong year in and year out.

It's simple physics. There's only so much light that hits the sensor. If you cram more and smaller photocells in there, that's great, but each one will get less light and more noise. So I don't care what "technology" (nice hand-wave word, by the way) you use, if you do the same thing with fewer and larger photocells, you're going to get better results. The megapixel myth has been repeated for 10 years because it's always been true.

You make zero allowance for increased ccd sensitivity, multi-layering of sensors, and the removal of circuit components from between the photocells (back illuminated sensors), as well as half a dozen other technological improvements over the years.

All of these have allowed more pixels in the same space without reducing the amount of light to any given sensor element. (Light falling on wires running between photocells is wasted light).

Then you declare it to have always been true, when there have never been side by side tests of the exact same technology with differing photocell size, while holding all else equal.

There have been these magical lines drawn in the sands of the megapixel beach since Pogue wrote his article, each stating the X is the maximum useful megapixels. Yet each year X has increased, with no degradation in overall image quality, and journalists rush to postulate new values of X, always higher than the prior values, and each year they assure us this is the final value of X, and there can be no improvement. Don't you think that after a theory has been demonstrated to be incrementally wrong year after year, that it might be time to re-evaluate the theory?

Off course, megapixels matters, but not to the expense of image quality. I understand the marketing side of it though, people will think 4.3, wow that must not be a good camera. Maybe their needs to be a fake image quality scale created.

Sounds awesome. I am due for an upgrade soon so I am on the hunt for a new smart phone. I have the EVO 3D and have come to like Sense so i don't want to move to another manufacturer . However, if HTC continues this trend of making their phone with non removable batteries i might have to look elsewhere.

I had a One X and honestly, the non-removable battery was a non-factor for me. But what was a factor is HTC's (and the carriers) decisions to keep devices locked down and essentially out of the hands of the dev/modding community. I loved that One X but if they keep future phones locked down, I will stay away from HTC.

Not sure what you're referring to, my HTC One X has been rooted and bootloader unlocked since the first week I got it from AT&T.

Mine was too... but... they made it pretty difficult. Remember the debacle of getting one of the later firwares rooted? it took forever. I remember following all those threads on XDA including the ones attempting S-Off. Bottom line, HTC is trying its hardest to keep their phones locked down tight. It did cause a lot of talented (and not so talented) people to leave the One X behind looking for greener pastures. Luckly, there were (and still are) some awesome devs working on that device.

threads like this do not need to exist:

Though with the huge changes to sense over the past year and a half it doesn't really resemble the HTC sense that it was on the Evo 3D. Though hopefully one of the new Snapdragon 600/800 chip or the new Tegra 4 makes its way in there. I think going with an s4 Pro would be a huge mistake for them. They need to do something to innovate and I think that the next gen quad core along with a camera that, if it works as planned, will be amazing, would be hugely advantageous for them. Failure to innovate would be a nail in the coffin for them. Also upping the contrast on the super LCD 3 screen wouldn't be a bad thing. The colors on the DNA do not seem to pop as much to me as those on the One X and the E4GLTE. Lets hope they pull out all the stops and do this right!

I agree, quality over megapixels, but I won't consider
HTC due to this non-USER-accessible battery crap.

I used to worry about the non-removable battery "issue" then I bought an external rechargeable battery that I use to recharge my EVO 4G LTE when I go camping. I don't worry about it any more.
It seems bad, but it actually enables HTC to build better phones by NOT having to worry about the removable battery and casing for it, etc.
Of course, at the end of the day, these are "phones" and we aren't doing brain surgery with them. ;) I am a huge fan of Tech, so don't get me wrong about THAT. I think that the non removable battery makes for better phones, not worse.

I agree and also use the EVO LTE. I love my phone and the biggest issue I had with making the 2 year commitment was the internal battery. Internal batteries can (obviously not always) put a bigger battery into a slimmer phone. There was a lot of marketing done on this with the new 8X.
I also am almost never somewhere without a phone charger. I have one at work, in my car, and at my house. Since my life is lived between these 3 places, I usually have a good chunk of time to get some juice into the phone if I need to. For those who have an extra battery and like to swap, I understand because I had to do it with that silly photon that sprint sold. As someone who used to do it and now never does, I'm glad I'm not constantly replacing my battery and having to charge 2 every night.

And when you DO find you need to replace a worn-out EVO LTE battery, it takes only a few minutes and a screwdriver. Not a big whoop.

I worried about the battery at first with the LTEVO but not anymore. The phone easily gets 24+ hours on a single charge.

+1. I don't worry about the battery anymore. I just pray they either give us the 32 or 64 storage option, or include a sd slot for the Sprint version.

while i love the though of this camera technology, HTC should just stick with "13MP ultrapixel camera" for describing the camera.
the general public will see the Sony Xperia Z with 13mp (insert fancy camera technology word here) camera, then see this with 4.3 ultrapixel camera right next to it and go with the Sony. they wont take the time to understand what this actually is.

As someone who sells phones for a living they very much are. They only see numbers or "oooooh you have it in white". The average customer is influenced more by advertisement than anything else. Take the Lg Optimus G for an example. It is by far the #1 phone on the market and the reviews show it, yet people only want the Galaxy s3 or the Note 2 because Samsung advertises the heck out of it. Before i get flamed at, the S3 is still an amazing phone. It is my personal phone, but it was announced in May and the Optimus G was just launched. Customers will not read between the lines even though the majority of us would. Just because 99% of us Android Central users would do our homework doesn't mean the average consumer will. Maybe 1 out of 50 customers do any kind of research and those who do usually do not know what it actually means.

Considering LG's track record with smartphones, how can you blame people for not wanting to buy them?

No offense, but a majority of people still hype over Crapple phones. Trust me, on one of the news coverage, customers waiting in lines were asked what their opinion on the iPhone 5 was. "It was the best!" "It has holograms!" "Cuz it is made by Apple!" "My friends, my families, they all have iPhones!" Bottom line, it all comes down to marketing hypes and the use of propaganda. A majority of people are not as tech savvy and either don't have time or just don't want to bother taking some time in their life to do some research on the specs and understand what they are buying.

I do think that branding this tech is going to be huge. I'm very glad this is the way of future cameras, but I also agree that people will look at a 4.3 ultrapixel and perhaps never give it a go. Just this weekend I had a buddy tell me the phone he was about to buy (SII on Virgin) had the best camera because it had an 8MP shooter. HTC One V has a 5MP cam, but I think the sensor is better after using them in the store (VERY limited use). People know how to look at numbers - so here's to hoping they can brand it for the masses!

Picture Quality, compression quality, and optics are WAY more important then MPs! Reminds me of the old EVO vs. iPhone comic where the cartoon character say "more Gee Bees". Marketing so tailors to idiots!

Case in point. Brain surgery may be required. Sheeple have primitive herding instincts beyond their capacity to reason.

Examples: Fat swappable batteries they rarely swap yet reduce performance, extra pixels they never utilize, vast storage of forgotten junk, inability to interact in person, and there's the iPhone.

No wonder drones are becoming so prolific.

Sounds like they might be using a Foveon sensor. I remember back in the day when digital cameras were still 3MP the next big thing was going to be a Foveon sensor. Instead of having RGB sensors side by side in each pixel it had a layered approach to get all 3 colors in each pixel.

The description of the sensor reminded me of the Foveon as well. The thing is, while the idea was awesome on paper, it didn't really produce noticeably better images than the normal sensor.

I just want to see the Indoor and low light quality improve. I still think the iPhone5 with its post processing produces the best picture. I have both the EVOLTE and S3 (TW and CM10.1) but my sisters damn iPhone 5 still produces a better shot when side by side shots are taken (at Christmas etc etc). In my opinion, a VASTLY better camera could REALLLLY be a game changer for a high end phone. I understand the demands for size and sensor size but man, eventually technology will get there. Just hoping its an Android phone that does it sooner rather than later.

Professional reviews show the Iphone5 and S3 swapping results under different conditions so don't believe the Iphone5 has a superior camera or anything for that matter...

I also also have the EVO 3D as a previous poster mentioned. My concern is dev support. 3d is closed source and not functional on aosp roms. Will this multi-sensor stuff fall into the same fate? Sounds like it might to me...

It very well might. Proprietary code and the Sense camera app that will be tied to the Sense framework. The One X still doesn't have an AOSP ROM with a camera app that can match the Sense camera because of the proprietary code for the Imagesense chip.

This means nothing to me until I see some pics taken with it. Sounds like it should blow every other android camera out of the water though.

I hope the developers had enough time to optimize the software for this new approach. With the ImageSense technology, the specs were there and I knew it was capable of producing best in class results. The end result weren't bad by any means, but bitrate, ISO noise, white balance, auto-exposure, and auto-focus just didn't meet my expectations (given the marketing from HTC about ImageSense). I'll cross my fingers on this one though...

I really want this to be a hit because I generally like htc devices, but something tells me to wait for the Galaxy SIV

Sounds like HTC is trying to use smoke and mirrors. You can have 13.1 MP of which 4.3 are Red, Green, and Blue. Or you can have 4.3 MP of Red, 4.3 MP of Green, and 4.3 MP of blue for a total of 13.1 MP. Sounds the same to me.