HTC could be set to release a smartphone with an optical zoom camera in 2015.
In recent years HTC has stepped back from the fruitless megapixel race and focused on increased pixel size and advanced software and hardware tricks to boost the image quality in its smartphones, culminating in the dual-lens HTC One M8.
But the next year or so could see the gap to DSLR cameras closing dramatically.
That’s according to HTC’s very own camera guru, Symon Whitehorn, who recently spoke to Vodafone about the company’s photographic future.
"Two years ago I would have said that phones will never replace DSLRs. Now I’m not so sure," says Whitehorn. "I think there’ll always be a role for a dedicated camera, like for sports etc., but I think you’ll see the gap closing."
In order to bridge that gap, he reckons that smartphones need to find a practical way to adopt optical zoom technology rather than simply boosting the megapixel count. It’s a problem that HTC is very close to finding a solution to.
"Optical zooming in a smartphone is not too far off at all for HTC," reveals Whitehorn. "I can’t give too much away, but within 12-18 months we’ll see huge advances in phone optics."
Of course, HTC’s biggest rival Samsung has already started exploring optical zoom in its cameras in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. It’s set to launch its next, hopefully more streamlined, attempt on April 29 with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Zoom, or Samsung Galaxy K as it could well be relabelled.
We get the impression from Whitehorn’s comments that this kind of bulky lens solution isn’t quite what HTC has in mind. We shouldn’t have too long to wait to find out about HTC’s approach.
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