Components > Handset Components Blog



Samsung Introduces the First Mobile Image Sensor with 0.7μm Pixels, the Smallest Pixel Size in the Industry

by Jeffrey Mathews | Sep 24, 2019

The focus on cameras in the smartphone has grown tremendously among both smartphone vendors and component suppliers. Samsung continues to be at the forefront of this with its innovative and aggressive focus at both ends of the supply chain. Samsung’s latest innovation in mobile image sensor domain promises another milestone in the smartphone image sensor technology. In August 2019, the company had announced industry’s first 108MP image sensor. Following up on that achievement, the company today announced the industry’s first sensor with the smallest pixel in a mobile image sensor. Samsung ISOCELL Slim GH1 is a 43.7MP sensor and has a pixel size of 0.7μm.

We have seen a significant reduction in pixel size of image sensors and so far the pixel size of the image sensor was limited to 0.8μm. The ISOCELL GH1 sensor has gone beyond the limit with its 0.7μm pixel size which is now the smallest pixel size in a sensor. The sensor promises high-resolution image in a small physical size package for customers.


samsung

Image Source: Samsung

 

Key Features

  • The sensor can capture images at a high-resolution of 43.7MP with a pixel size of 0.7μm to produce vivid and detailed images. This is an ISOCELL Plus sensor that can produce high-resolution images even in low-light conditions. In such conditions, the sensor uses pixel merging based on Samsung’s Tetracell technology to produce a 10.9 MP image with an amplified pixel size of 1.4μm.
  • The sensor size is not officially revealed by Samsung but we expect it to be a 1/2.8" large framed sensor that allows for absorbing more light in a dark environment.
  • The sensor supports 4K resolution video recording at 60fps. Rather than cropping the image resolution, the sensor converts its 7,968x5,480 pixel resolution to 3,840x2,160 (4K resolution) to provide a high field of view.
  • The sensor supports other features such as electronic image stabilization (EIS), improved phase-detection and autofocus technology and real-time HDR support.

Outlook

The ISOCELL Slim GH1 sensor is intended for selfie camera use and could be positioned as an upgrade to the vendor’s existing ISOCELL Slim GD1 sensor which is a 32-megapixel sensor with a pixel size of 0.8μm. The ISOCELL GD1 sensor continues to be in great demand from Chinese smartphone vendors and so Samsung is expected to achieve a similar feat with its ISOCELL GH1 sensor.

Samsung continues to achieve strong traction for its sensor especially the ISOCELL GM1 48MP and ISOCELL GD1 32MP sensors. Both these sensors have seen significant adoption in mid-range devices. Most recently announced ISOCELL GW1 64MP sensor has also started to gain mass acceptance among smartphone vendors. Some brands such as Redmi and Realme have even launched their latest devices with this sensor and are also planning to launch more devices in the coming quarter with that sensor.

Key Questions

  • The sensor will be in mass production by the end of 2019, which means the sensor could potentially be seen in smartphones launched in early 2020. It will be interesting to see who all will be the first set of customers in the smartphone industry to adopt this sensor. China-based smartphone vendors would be aggressive and ready for this technology but who among those would launch the first smartphone with this sensor? Or do we expect Samsung Mobile entity would launch a Galaxy smartphone with this sensor?
  • What implication would the launch of this sensor have on the demand for Sony’s IMX branded sensors? Can the market leader offer a competing product to challenge Samsung’s aggressive growth plans in the smartphone image sensor market?

     

Our recent report on the smartphone image sensor market can be found here.

Previous Post: Samsung Display sees drop in revenue but maintains lead in the smartphone display panel market in Q1 2019
Leave a comment