The 'megapixel wars' on smartphone cameras stopped some time ago but recently we are seeing an uptick in smartphone image sensor pixel counts, not because consumers demand higher resolution images but because many modern sensors use Quad-Bayer technology which combines four pixels into one, for better detail, lower noise levels and increased dynamic range.
Samsung has now launched the ISOCELL Bright GW1, the world's' first 64-megapixel sensor for smartphones. It comes with the same 0.8-micrometer pixels as the current 48MP sensor which means it will have a larger sensor surface and therefore better light gathering capabilities.
Cameras equipped with the new sensor model will typically output 16MP images, much in the same way as the current 48MP models from Samsung and Sony deliver 12MP images. That said, engineers will also have the option to read out complete 64MP images, which can make sense in good lighting where noise and/or dynamic range are less of an issue.
In addition to the 64MP model, Samsung is also launching a new 48MP variant. Mass production is expected to start in the second half of 2019.