Huawei P9 phones capture photons with twin camera sensors

— 9:42 AM on April 6, 2016

Huawei's next flagship smartphones, the P9 and the P9 Plus, might raise the bar in the smartphone camera arena. These phones use not one, but two 12MP camera modules to capture data. They then combine the input from these sensors to make potentially more detailed photos. One of those sensors is a traditional Bayer-color-array module, while the other captures only luminance (or tonal) data. Since that monochrome sensor doesn't have a color filter, each of its photo sites can collect more light.

According to The Verge, Huawei partnered with Leica Camera AG to design this system. It's tempting to view this partnership as nothing more than a branding exercise, but Leica has been down the unconventional-sensor road before with its M Monochrom black-and-white digital cameras. Huawei also claims that Leica lent its expertise to the design of the P9 cameras' optical systems. Leica knows a thing or two about optics, so it's possible the P9's lenses are better for the partnership.

The rest of the P9 family's spec sheet befits a high-end device. The phones are powered by Huawei's brand-new Kirin 955 SoC. The Kirin 955's CPU has four 2.5GHz Cortex-A72 cores and four more Cortex-A53s running at 1.8GHz. Graphics power comes by way of ARM's Mali-T880 GPU. That SoC is built using TSMC's 16-nm FinFET technology. Huawei backs up the Kirin 955 with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The regular P9 uses a 5.2" IPS LCD screen with a 1080p resolution. We expect to learn more details about the P9 and P9 Plus soon.

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