Recent flagship smartphones have shown the newest arms race in the world of mobile photography is how many lenses you can stick on a device, but Samsung isn't giving up on the megapixels yet. Samsung has announced a new pair of half-inch image sensors destined for future smartphones: the 48-megapixel GM1 and 32-megapixel GD1.

Both the 48MP ISOCELL Bright GM1 and 32MP ISOCELL Bright GD1 have 0.8μm pixels and are backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensors that use Samsung's latest pixel isolation technology, nicknamed ISOCELL Plus. They also use Samsung's Tetracell technology, which merges four pixels together to create a single pixel that's more effective in low-light environments. Samsung claims "the GM1 and GD1 can deliver light sensitivity equivalent to that of a 1.6μm-pixel image sensor at 12MP and 8MP resolution, respectively."

Both sensors support gyro-based electronic image stabilization and the 32MP GD1 supports real-time HDR image capture.

Samsung expects the ISOCELL Bright GM1 and GD1 to be in mass production by the end of 2018, which would likely pave the way for an appearance in future Samsung Galaxy devices in 2019.

Samsung Introduces Two New 0.8μm ISOCELL Image Sensors to the Smartphone Market

Ultra-small pixel size combined with ISOCELL Plus and Tetracell technologies enhance sharpness and detail in smartphone photos

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today introduced two new 0.8-micrometer (μm) pixel image sensors – the 48-megapixel (Mp) Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 and the 32Mp ISOCELL Bright GD1.

“Demand for ultra-small, high-resolution image sensors are growing as smartphones evolve to deliver new and more exciting camera experiences for users,” said Ben K. Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. “With the introduction of our cutting-edge 0.8μm-pixel Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 and GD1 image sensors, we are committed to continue driving innovation in image sensor technologies.”

As cameras are becoming a key distinguishing feature in today’s mobile devices, smartphone makers are faced with the challenge to fit multiple cameras into the sleek designs of their latest flagships. At a reduced pixel size, the new sensors provide greater design flexibility, enabling camera module manufacturers to build smaller modules or pack more pixels into existing designs, and consequently allowing smartphone makers to maximize space utilization in slim, bezel-less smartphones.

The GM1 and the GD1 sensors are based on the company’s latest pixel isolation technology – the ISOCELL Plus* – which optimizes performance especially for smaller-dimension pixels, making them the ideal solution for today’s super-resolution cameras. In addition, thanks to Tetracell technology, where four pixels are merged to work as one to increase light sensitivity, the GM1 and GD1 can deliver light sensitivity equivalent to that of a 1.6μm-pixel image sensor at 12Mp and 8Mp resolution, respectively. The sensors also support Gyro-based electronic image stabilization (EIS) for fast and accurate image capture.

A real-time high dynamic range (HDR) feature is added to the GD1 to deliver more balanced exposure, richer color and detail when filming selfie-videos or streaming live video content even in low-light, high-contrast environments.

The Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 and GD1 are expected to be in mass production in the fourth quarter of this year.

*Samsung first announced its ISOCELL technology in 2013, which reduces color-cross talk between pixels by placing a physical barrier, allowing small-sized pixels to achieve higher color fidelity. Based on this technology, Samsung introduced the industry’s first 1.0um-pixel image sensor in 2015 and 0.9-pixel sensor in 2017. In June 2018, Samsung introduced an upgraded pixel isolation technology, the ISOCELL Plus.