HTC M7 to ditch megapixels in favour of Ultrapixels

HTC is to use a new camera sensor on its much-rumoured HTC M7 smartphone, Pocket-lint can confirm, which will use what the company calls Ultrapixels.

Although rumours have suggested the new smartphone will use a 13-megapixel sensor, sources familiar with the matter have told Pocket-lint that won't be the case. Well, not exactly.

The new camera will instead be made up of three 4.3-megapixel sensor layers combined to give a resulting single image. Three lots of 4.3 may add up to around 13-megapixels, but images from HTC's latest won't be output at that larger size.

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The technique, similar to that used by Sigma in the Foveon X3 sensor, means that three lots of data can represent one final pixel. All that extra data can be intelligently "combined" to generate a crisper, cleaner image and - in the case of the Foveon sensor - better colour accuracy.

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The technique is also close to the way Nokia can handle image data with the camera in the 808 PureView, or Fujifilm's EXR system in its compact cameras - but both companies opt for a more conventional sensor structure and use surrounding pixels to render one equivalent in a final image rather than the multiple-layered structure HTC is said to have opted for.

The Ultrapixel sensor is expected to be a core feature of the new M7 smartphone - the name of which is still to be officially confirmed - and, presumably, the way that HTC will stop consumers being confused that its new flagship phone will come with what, on the surface, is a 4-megapixel sensor.

Nokia had a similar issue with the Nokia 808 Pureview's boasts of a 41-megapixel sensor which was available in only one mode, whereas the smartphone's more common settings would restrict output to 8-megapixels for best-clarity shots.

Ultrapixel is ultimately remarketing the megapixel. Whether it will become a part of your daily vocabulary from 19 February, well, we'll just have to wait and see.