In January, Xiaomi announced its 12 series flagship smartphones. Since then, Xiaomi has entered a partnership with Leica and announced the Xiaomi 12S Ultra smartphone. Per Xiaomi on the social media platform Weibo, the 12S Ultra will use Sony's IMX989 image sensor. It's a 1"-type sensor, measuring around 13.1 x 9.8 mm, giving a crop factor of around 2.7, relative to full-frame.

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Sony has previously used a 1"-type sensor in its Xperia Pro-I smartphone. However, in that smartphone, not the entire 1"-type sensor is used, but Xiaomi reportedly intends to use the entire sensor area in its 12S Ultra smartphone.

Android Authority also reports that Sony and Xiaomi co-developed the IMX989 image sensor and Xiaomi took on half the development cost of the sensor. The total development cost is said to be around $15M.

The new Sony IMX989 is much larger than some other heavily-used image sensors, including the IMX766 sensor in the Xiaomi 12 and the IMX707 that debuted in the Xiaomi 12 Pro.

Aside from the Xperia Pro-I, other smartphones have included 1"-type sensors in the past, such as the Sharp Aquos R6, Leica Leitz Phone 1 and Panasonic CM1. All three phones offer 20.2MP resolution. There's no word yet on the resolution of the Sony IMX989 sensor.

However, Xiaomi promises better low-light performance, faster focusing and improved dynamic range thanks to the new image sensor. The company also claims that the new sensor captures 76% more light than the iPhone 13 Pro Max's 12MP main camera, although the technical details behind that claim remain unknown. As part of the partnership with Leica, the 12S Ultra will include a Summicron lens coating.

Xiaomi will unveil its new flagship smartphone on July 4, so we should know much more about the IMX 989 and the rest of the phone's features next week.