Toshiba has announced an enhanced smartphone camera image sensor that should spark a rise in general mobile camera performance.

The 1/2.4-inch 20-megapixel BSI CMOS image sensor enables 6mm z-height camera modules for smartphones and tablets.

The company has managed to use the sensor's real estate more effectively than before, managing to get each pixel down to 1.12 micrometre, allowing for a smaller chip size. It can therefore manage 20-megapixels in the same size module as most smartphones require.

Toshiba also claims that the new sensor is capable of an improved frame rate of 22 frames per second (at RAW 10-bit output). That figure rises with a drop in resolution - 24fps for 18.8-megapixels, 28fps for 16.3-megapixels.

Toshiba will ship samples to manufacturers from 1 September and expects mass production of the sensors to start in February next year. It claims to be able to produce half a million sensors per month. Samples will be sold at 2,000 yen (around £11.50) per sensor, but the mass production models will naturally be cheaper per unit.

The Japanese company also announced a dual Lytro-style camera module for smartphones earlier this year, but we are yet to see it implemented in phones. The only device that has adopted such a system so far is the HTC One (M8).

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