Camera-centric smartphone with 20-megapixel 1/1.6-inch sensor could be coming later this year

Smartphone imaging tech is constantly evolving, with manufacturers cramming ever more advanced shooters into handsets. Now it seems Sony may be taking things a step further with a new flagship phone for late 2013, codenamed "Honami." 

VR-Zone has published a fairly detailed report on the optics behind the purported new Sony handset, which it says is being worked on by all areas of the company, not just Sony Mobile. The alleged 1/1.6-inch sensor would put the "Honami" close to the Nokia Pureview 808 (1/1.2-inch) and comfortably ahead of the HTC One (1/3-inch), Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z (1/3.06-inch), and even some dedicated imaging devices like the Galaxy Camera (1/2.3-inch). In addition, it's reported that a Sony G lens will be used, bringing this area in line with some of Sony's standalone cameras. Sony is apparently exploring new options for its flash, too, with either Xenon or dual-LED flash options reportedly being considered for ten times more brightness than a standard smartphone flash.

The new hardware to be backed up by refreshed camera software, too, including new image processing algorithms taken from Sony's Cyber-shot series cameras, and a new camera app with "Superior Auto Scene Recognition." That's said to be a step beyond the regular Superior Auto mode found on the current crop of Xperias.

All this extra camera tech means the "Honami" could be a fairly hefty smartphone -- VR-Zone reports that Sony's own estimates point to a thickness of around 10mm. By comparison, the thickest part of the HTC One measures 9.3mm. A combination of glass, metal and carbon fiber will make up Honami's chassis, the site reports. As for other specs, rumors are floating around Chinese forum ePrice pointing to a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and a new-fangled 5-inch "WhiteMagic" 1080p IPS-NEO screen with 2000:1 contrast ratio. The pixel count behind that fancy new camera? A whole 20 megapixels, according to ePrice, which points to an August or September launch.

That's around the time we usually see a fall refresh for Sony's products, so if these reports turn out to be accurate, we could be looking at an IFA 2013 launch for the "Honami." As for the purported tech behind the new device, digital imaging is a natural place for Sony to see differentiation, and Q3 is about when we're expecting to see the first Snapdragon 800 phones. We'll be waiting with bated breath come September.

Source: VR-ZoneePrice via Phandroid


Reader comments

Sony 'Honami' rumored with Cyber-shot camera


Eventually someone is going to figure out how to put Android on a DSLR with a built-in 5-6-inch "monitor." And then they're going to make so much money.

The Sony NEX ranges (at least the current range) of DSLRs run Android, but not that you would know, it's well hidden. The ID given in my router is the giveaway...

Yeah its a niche market. I like the phone specs regardless of the camera. I wouldn't want a big protruding lens though, if they can keep to the 10mm spec that would be great.

I may forget MOTO X if that`s become true :)
Please SONY, DO IT :)

But do not forget IT SHOULD BE A PHONE + camera and not CAMERA with phone capabilities. We still talking about GREAT PHONES (latest hardware and software available) and future OS updates provided with better camera. No bigger than 5" too.

If you deliver it you can count on me as a costumer :)

Let's be perfectly clear, the camera alone is going to make the OS update process a little longer.

Sounds great, but as we've seen time and again more megapixels does not equal a 'better' photo. Hopefully Sony will iron out the software and optimize the picture taking process to get rid of shutter lag. Another concern is how it will hold up indoors and in low lighting. 20 megapixels is a LOT of possible noise and grainy photos.

I would have thought that the Boston bombing would have knocked a bit of sense into the heads of people running around regurgitating the Mexapixel Myth mantra every time someone mentions a high resolution camera.

Yeah and if this thing turns out to be the next Nexus device, it might just be the perfect phone... A guy can dream!

Just want to give some dap to Alex and/or the AC editors for the correct spelling of "bated". Rock on.

@Alex Dobie

Thanks for the post.

As too much competitive the smartphone world is Sony should do something special

Thanks in Advance

This should be the new focus. I think most people are waiting for a SIGNIFICANT jump in camera tech, like a really good camera that has an amazing automatic mode.

There are plenty of these. Plenty. From any of the the big 5 camera makers.

The Auto Mode on modern pocket cams is getting smarter and smarter all the time.

Anything over 10 megapixels is pointless, and I'd say that 10mp is extravagant. Now give me an optical zoom on top of that 10mp and I'm in.

By the way, what do those numbers mean such as "1/1.2-inch"? Is this some kind of Brit math? That's a fraction on top of a decimal. To me that means 0.833 inch. "1/1.06-inch" is 0.9433 inch.

And the only glass that should be in a phone is the screen part. I'm not against metal or "carbon fiber", but plastic is fine by me. Only iFools think plastic means "cheap".