2019: the year to pack in more smartphone cameras
Recent industry leaks suggest in 2019, smartphone manufacturers will be concentrating on enhancing their high-end smartphone camera experience by adding extra cameras.
Both Chinese conglomerate Huawei and American mega-company Apple are rumoured to be working on adding cameras to their premium devices, to be released later this year.
Huawei was one of the first companies to introduce a dual-camera set-up, with its P9, in 2016. At this time, it also announced its partnership with iconic German optics company Leica, who co-engineered the cameras on the device. Leica and Huawei still partner on all new Huawei premium smartphones.
Last year, Huawei's P20 Pro featured three rear cameras and, according to a leak from smartphone cover manufacturer Olixar, the Huawei P30 Pro will have four rear cameras.
Leaks about rear camera set-ups often happen through smartphone cover companies, and are often correct, as they receive specifications from smartphone manufacturers before the device is released. These are necessary so the covers can be created and are available to coincide with the launch of the smartphone.
The P30 Pro is expected to be released at an event in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress, in March.
The P20 Pro featured a 20MP monochrome camera, and 40MP colour camera and an 8MP 3X telephoto lens. It is unclear what the fourth camera on the P30 Pro will be.
Apple is also rumoured to be adding a camera to its new iPhone, expected to be released in September. Like Huawei, Apple first introduced a dual camera set-up in 2016, with the iPhone 7 Plus. It has since been a feature in every one of its larger models, such as the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
According to digit, a Web site known for tracking smartphone leaks, Apple might introduce a new iPhone this year, which could be named the iPhone XI (pronounced 11), with three cameras that will sit on the rear of the phone in square-shaped housing.
Digit notes: "The leaked renders reveal a square camera unit housing three cameras aligned non-linearly. There are two cameras aligned vertically, similar to the iPhone XS. The render reveals there will be a third camera placed between the two, on the side. Above that is an LED flash and a microphone on the bottom."
As the new iPhones are only expected later this year, there may be some changes in the final design.
The dual-cameras on the iPhone have always included a normal range camera paired with a telephoto lens, allowing users to zoom in on subjects without moving closer or losing picture quality.
According to a report by Bloomberg at the end of last year, the third camera on the new iPhone could be used for 3D-mapping. Sony, the biggest maker of camera chips used in smartphones, allegedly told Bloomberg that Apple has shown interest in its next-generation 3D sensors.
Other smartphone manufacturers that have previously released devices with at least a dual-camera set-up include Nokia, Samsung, and LG (which was one of the first companies to do so).