Samsung's 200MP Sensor Finds A Smartphone It Can Call Home

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In September 2021, Samsung took the wraps off a 200MP image sensor, one that it says packs industry-first features designed to take mobile photography to the next level. Nearly seven months on, this sensor — called the Samsung ISOCELL HP1 — is yet to make its way to a smartphone the average consumer can buy.

A few weeks after the HP1 sensor was announced, reports surfaced claiming Xiaomi was eyeing the component for one of its 2022 flagships. Unfortunately, that hasn't materialized yet, and now it seems Motorola could trump Xiaomi (and everyone else) to become the first brand to launch a smartphone with a 200MP camera.

On March 28, a Chinese leaker shared an image of an upcoming Motorola smartphone that is likely to use this sensor. The photo shows the rear camera array of the phone, which is dominated by a sizeable f/2.2 lens at the top and two smaller lenses below it that form a triangle of sorts. The camera array itself is housed within a raised camera bump, with one of the edges of the bump clearly stating the phone features a 200MP camera. 

The name of the sensor — "HP1" — is also clearly visible on the camera bump, as is a reference to optical image stabilization (OIS). The cropped-out image likewise partially reveals the familiar Motorola logo on the rear panel. Some leakers claim this yet-unreleased device will be called the Motorola Frontier.

Motorola Frontier: What we know so far

Preliminary information surrounding the Motorola Frontier indicates it'll likely be a full-fledged flagship that'll be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Apart from allegedly featuring a 6.7-inch curved P-OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, the device is also rumored to pack a 4,500 mAh battery with support for 125W wired charging and up to 50W wireless charging.

The device is expected to launch with multiple configurations starting at 8GB RAM/128GB storage and going up to 12GB RAM/256GB storage. It is unclear if this phone will feature a microSD card slot for storage expansion. GSMArena claims the Motorola Frontier may be officially announced by July 2022.

As for Samsung's 200MP ISOCELL HP1 sensor, we already know this module uses pixel binning to create 50MP images. In the 4x4 pixel binning mode, the resulting image would come down to a more usable 12.5MP, the resolution consumers are most likely to use. The sensor also supports capturing 8K videos at 30fps.

With all signs pointing toward an upcoming Motorola smartphone with a 200MP camera, it'll be interesting to see how Xiaomi responds.