Other smartphone news
While the bigger players tend to dominate the smartphone space, there are so many fascinating developments when it comes to camera phone tech that some of the greatest innovations come from the other manufacturers.
Realme, for example, might well pip Xiaomi to the punch when it comes to releasing the first 64MP phone, while Nokia's development of the 9-camera array powered by Light could well provide a breakthrough in camera phone capability.
And of course, now that Sony has finally torn down the walls between its Alpha and mobile divisions, we could finally see its camera phones realize the potential that everyone always expected…
Microsoft Surface Duo
After binning its Windows Mobile platform (and with it, apparently, its smartphone aspirations) back in 2017, we thought we'd seen the last of Microsoft's ill-fated Windows phones.
Color us shocked, then, when the company revealed the Microsoft Surface Duo – not just a brand new smartphone, but a folding one at that. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold, though, the Duo doesn't feature a single, seamless screen; rather, it's a dual-screen display, with each one functioning independently.
No specs have been revealed, but the Microsoft Surface Duo features a lone camera (in the rear 'selfie' situation) and also supports stylus input – though it isn't clear whether or not it will be packaged with one. The device isn't scheduled for release until holiday 2020, so there's plenty of time for all the juicy leaks to reveal all.
Realme is currently engaged in a footrace with Xiaomi to see who can release the world's first 64MP camera phone. And it seems that the Realme XT might be the first to market, since prototypes have been tested by journalists and the manufacturer has teased that the phone will be released before September ends (yes, they played the Green Day song and everything).
However, reports are not so rosy about the Realme XT's performance. Apparently the new sensor "does have a demosaic algorithm for full 64MP shots, but there's so much interpolation going on there that you get very limited extra detail, if any." The detail of the phone's new macro shots, as well as the digital 2x and 5x zoom, also seem to be a bit of a mess.
The question is, is this representative of the shortcomings of the new 64MP Samsung sensor, or of the Realme XT's ability to use it? Wake us up when September ends…
Nokia 8 48MP update
A new 48MP Nokia phone has leaked on line, which appears to be an update to the Nokia 8.1 series with a new 48MP image sensor.
In addition to the 4:3 48MP f/1.8 primary camera, the rear array features a 4:3 12MP and 16:9 9MP camera, while the front selfie module features a 7MP sensor housed in a waterdrop notch.
The handset has a fingerprint sensor below the camera array, which also features an LED flash module. The leaked pictures also show a USB-C port at the bottom, which tells us that the handset is a premium model.
Sony Xperia 2
The dust is still settling on the Sony Xperia 1, but it appears that the electronics giant is wasting no time in pushing the sequel into the market.
Information about the Sony Xperia 2 is incredibly scant, aside from lots of begging-to-be-interpreted model numbers and product registrations. However, we have seen a new pearlescent purple phone bearing the same triple-camera array as the Xperia 1, but it's positioned at the top-left of the rear as opposed to the centre.
Sony in anticipated to reveal the new phone at the IFA global innovations show in September, so expect more news as the show creeps closer.
Could a smartphone built around an enormously popular app be a hit with consumers? ByteDance certainly hopes so, as it is reportedly developing a phone catering to its TikTok app – even though history suggests is a bad idea.
ByteDance – developer of the app, which has been downloaded over a billion times – is apparently working on a TikTok smartphone consisting of preloaded software built around the app, as well as the company's other successful apps like News Republic and content aggregator TopBuzz / Toutiao.
The project is apparently being handling in-house, rather than being farmed it out to a traditional smartphone manufacturer. Which either means that it will avoid all the expected pitfalls that befell the Android Fire and the HTC First 'Facebook phone', or it will smash headlong into the reality of being a first-time developer trying to make a phone to compete with the big boys.