While we’re not about to say that Google would ever attempt to take on Apple’s iPhone business directly, it’s always interesting to see how closely each successive generation of smartphone add up against one another. Google began commissioning Nexus smartphones all the way back in the beginning of Android (as it was run by Google). Now they’re rumored to start calling their phones “Pixel” – not unlike their Chromebook Pixel and tablet lines.
Now, it seems, comparisons between the iPhone and Google’s smartphones could be more appropriate than ever before. Today word has reached our ear – via notorious tipster LlabTooFeR – that the Google Pixel XL will likely be running two highly impressive next-generation Sony IMX camera sensors.
UPDATE: The other Google Pixel looks to be running the same couple of sensors – so says the same source.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 runs the same Sony image processor for its back-facing camera as the Samsung Galaxy S7 – that’s the Sony IMX260 (confirmed by iFixit.) As confirmed by Sony this week in materials on their newest smartphones, the Sony Xperia XZ and the Xperia X Compact will run “IMX300 Sony Custom sensors.”
We’re still waiting on Sony to let us know exactly what this means because the IMX300 – the sensor Sony customizes for several of their previous phones, is a 25MP sensor. That’s a 7.87 mm (1/2.3″) sensor, 1.1 μm unit cell size, RGB… it’s the same base sensor as all the following devices:
• Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
• Sony Xperia Z5
• Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
• Sony Xperia X Performance
• Sony Xperia X
• Sony Xperia X Compact
• Sony Xperia XZ
Every big-name smartphone brand is working with a smartphone camera sensor that’s customized for their unique device. So what happens if Apple ends up using a sensor from one manufacturer or another?
It really, really doesn’t matter. What’ll matter is the final release of the phones, putting one of these phones next to the other and taking some photos.
Over the past couple of years with high-end smartphones from Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, and Apple – smartphone cameras have gone over the hump. They’re just fantastic now. To the point where smartphone cameras are used more than DSLR cameras and point-and-shoot cameras are just… very rarely used.
So the cameras are great – what’s next?
The iPhone 7 Plus (see our most recent collection of scoops) is very likely going to have a set of two camera lenses so it’s going to blow iPhone users’ minds with one wide-angle lens and one telephoto camera lens, with 12-megapixel sensors for each.
The new iPhone 7 Plus might have 4x LED flash bulbs instead of just two. Four! Can you believe it?
If Google does everything that I want them to do, everything that I wrote they MIGHT be doing before we started to see images of the next Nexus devices which – mind you – probably won’t be called Nexus devices anymore. Now they’ll be called Pixel devices, so the rumors suggest.
Of particular interest to me – I don’t know about you – is the idea that Google’s Pixel devices will be able to see and understand the 3D space around them, and remember that space, and allow users to put objects into that space – like dinosaurs.
I don’t know for certain, but here’s what I would not be surprised to see:
1. Google’s Pixel devices deliver a radical vision in which futuristic abilities are previewed – and they don’t necessarily work in a way that change people’s lives, but they certainly take a shot at doing so.
2. Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have cameras that work very well and do their job in a very reliable way, thereby continuing to keep the iPhone line the most ubiquitous brand in smartphones since the first generation.
We’ll see soon. Stick around for SlashGear’s hands-on with iPhone 7 devices this Wednesday, September 7th.
And Google’s next set of phones too, soon!