In a recent interview with Vodafone, HTC’s camera expert Symon Whitehorn gave the world a small glimpse into what’s coming up from the Taiwanese company.
When HTC debuted the One last year with its Ultrapixel camera, the response was mixed. Utilizing fewer, yet larger pixels that capture more light, the HTC One could take incredibly clear low-light photos. On the other side of that, the four megapixel camera’s shots were almost instantly crippled the second you began to zoom in on one. Whitehorn insinuates that the next-generation of HTC’s camera could receive double the megapixel count, and be ready for 4K video. HTC is waiting until 4K becomes more prevalent before it goes all-in.
“If you look at 4K quality, it really is only about 8 megapixels," Whitehorn said. "That’s a pretty good level to hold at, because over and above that we’re not sure what benefit you’d be getting.”
Of course, HTC won't just double the megapixel count in its upcoming cameras, as it’s going big and ambitious with the prospects of optical zooming in the not-too-distant future. Optical zooming in smartphones has been attempted, but never worked well enough to ship in a top-tier phone. Still, HTC sees a future where the convenience and quality of the smartphone camera will eventually keep consumers from buying dedicated cameras, unless you're a professional, or just yearn for the good 'ol days.
“I think we’re looking at about 18 months to two years," Whitehorn explained, "until that lens barrier begins breaking down and it becomes much harder to justify buying a dedicated camera outside of specialist or nostalgia reasons.”
Whitehorn says that optical zooming isn’t “—too far off at all for HTC.”
HTC One (M9) speculation can now commence.
Of course, HTC isn’t just focused on the rear camera. The One (M8) ships with a 5 megapixel, wide-angle, front-facing camera that’s capable of taking stellar shots. This isn’t at all surprising, either. For the past few years, the company has been slowly increasing the quality of its front-facing cameras. Why? HTC wants to own the selfie market, and has good enough reason to.
While HTC isn’t the only manufacturer to put in a 5 megapixel shooter on the front of the phone, it’s taking the front seriously and will continue to invest in the area with upcoming smartphone offerings. “It’s no longer the afterthought camera that it’s been for so long.”
The camera experience is just one of many areas HTC is honing in on. With the best Android smartphone designs and superior audio quality compared to the competition, HTC's ambition is paying off.