Photography power plays an important role in selling smartphones. In fact, in recent years, the camera has become the most important factor in distinguishing phones. Now, as camera sensors become more and more similar, it looks like the next battle in mobile photography will be over image processing (ISP) chips.
Companies like Vivo and Xiaomi are developing and using They are proprietary image processing chips that, along with the image processing chip on the main chip, can double the appeal of the final images. Oppo is also building such a chip, and in the meantime, Google wants to increase the processing power of camera photos by building a dedicated central chip, in addition to providing the desired features.
But why different companies in this field? Have shown and what are the benefits of using a dedicated image processing chip for mobile photography? We will discuss this issue below.
Motivation to provide better photos
The most important reason for using a dedicated image processing chip is to improve image quality by providing features not found in competing handsets. For example, the Xiaomi Surge C1 chip promises improved image quality in low light, better focus and improved auto exposure. But advanced image processing chips can be used to increase the speed and power of HDR and even machine learning features, which Google has undoubtedly paid attention to for its latest chip.
While the quality of camera sensors is increasing day by day. They get better, but in the end there are many limitations to the mobile camera, such as space constraints as well as power consumption. To overcome these physical limitations, smartphone makers are moving to take advantage of new technologies and more advanced processing techniques. But these mobile photography features also require more advanced and powerful chips, which is why companies are working to build proprietary ISPs.
Google was one of the first companies to highlight the importance of image processing chips for mobile photography quality. The Pixel Visual Core and then the Pixel Neural Core chips helped the Pixel handsets capture stunning, high-quality photos despite the use of conventional cameras. Now that the company wants to use a dedicated central chip for the first time, we need to see how this approach will affect the image quality of the Pixel 6 series.
Smartphones are always overcoming their physical limitations, In the meantime, image processing and software features will play an important role in advancing innovation. That's why, in addition to the camera sensor and lenses, image processing chips will soon become the distinguishing feature of different phones for mobile photography. Of course, in connection with the increase in attention to this area, we can point to other reasons.
China's attention to advanced chips
It is no coincidence that Chinese companies are paying attention to this area. The Chinese government strongly welcomes the development of proprietary chips to reduce dependence on Western technologies. The US government can cut off Chinese companies' access to advanced US technology at any time, which is why China has allocated large sums of money for this purpose. Image processing chips are one of the few key components of the central chip that Companies can easily use it separately. The same approach can be taken for machine learning chips, and Chinese companies have taken action in this regard. But 5G components, CPUs, and GPUs rely heavily on Western technology.
Huawei is the only Chinese company that has a lot to say about advanced chip patents, but even this company has to use Western technologies to produce CPUs, GPUs and other important components, which is possible due to US sanctions. Designing task-specific chips could be a useful step in designing more advanced chips in the future. Do not forget that smartphone makers can better respond to the needs of their users. Companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek offer the same features for different types of companies.
The next battle in mobile photography
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Over the past few years, the capabilities of mobile photography software processing have received a great deal of attention. Image processing chips are an integral part of the puzzle that play a key role in features such as autofocus and advanced software algorithms. Improving the quality of mobile photography is the number one goal, and a more advanced image processing chip will certainly help increase the quality of captured images. On the other hand, growing companies, especially Chinese companies, want to show that they can compete with strong competitors in the field of chips, such as Apple and Samsung.
Although many users still play the role of chips. Image processing and its role in mobile photography are not known, but we will see more focus on this feature in 2022 handset ads and possibly in the years to come.
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Source: Android Authority