​Samsung launches dual pixel image sensor for mobile

Samsung has begun mass producing its dual pixel image sensors that allow DSLR camera-level photo taking in the dark, which first feature on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Samsung is producing a 1.2 megapixel image sensor for smartphones that applies dual pixel technology, the company announced.

Produced by the firm's logic chip and contract making division System LSI, mass production coincides with the global rollout of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge series -- the first to have the sensors installed.

Dual pixel technology -- which speeds up autofocus by using 100 percent of the pixels compared with conventional smartphone sensors' 5 percent -- has been in use for DSLR cameras and shines in low light situations.

Pixel size has been boosted to 1.4 micrometer, and each of the 12 million pixels features two photo diodes that collect light. The diodes work like human eyes to compare images to control focus, achieved by the firm's ISOCELL technology.

The sensor is made with a 65 nanometer process, and the logic chip -- which transfers the light read by the sensor to digital signals -- has a 28 nanometer process to make it as small as possible for smartphones, the company said.

"We've applied dual pixel technology previously used in the niche professional camera market to mobile, and the sensor will become the best solution to take clear photos in low light," said Ben K Hur, Samsung's senior vice president of marketing at System LSI.

The company declined to comment on potential clients. Traditionally, Samsung begins supplying its latest semiconductor products to other vendors six months after its own flagship products.

Samsung is runner-up in sensors to Sony's over 50 percent market share.

Its memory division is also upping chip specs, launching the 256 GB UFS 2.0 using 3D V-NAND that will likely make it to Samsung products launched later this year.

Samsung and LG have been highlighting the different camera features of their respective flagship phones before their release. LG G5 uses a wide angle dual camera for its 16-megapixel rear camera. A camera module can also be attached to simulate a DSLR experience.

Global sales of Samsung's S7 and S7 Edge begin March 11.

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