That company is none other than Light, certainly no stranger to multi-camera systems on mobile devices, having put 16 lenses on its "multi-aperture computational" L16 camera, made available in July last year. Ten or more of those lenses capture an image at the same time under different focal lengths; the camera stitches those images into a single 52-megapixel photo.
Light Is Making A Smartphone With This Many Cameras
Light is bringing that system into a smartphone, as The Washington Post reports. The company showed the publication various concepts and prototypes that contained between five and nine lenses on its rear. The design, the company claims, can capture 64-megapixel photos, take better low-light shots, and incorporate advanced depth effects. It will announce a multi-lens smartphone later this year, Light says, but it didn't mention a price.
Just for the sake of comparison, the L16 costs $1,950. If the company's smartphone is going to be anywhere near that price point, then it's hard to imagine it'll sell many units, especially given that the phone is going to be made by a company that's a newcomer in terms of mobile devices.
It's Not That Easy To Break Into The Smartphone World, Though
Take Essential, for example. It had everything going for it: a boss who knows Android through and through, given that he was its cofounder; big aspirations for both mobile and smart home ecosystems; and a pretty slick, if a little flawed, smartphone. But it still failed. A lot of factors played in that unsuccessful first attempt, but the main thing is that the smartphone landscape is hard to break into at the moment.
It's not clear whether Light aspires to be the next big smartphone company, or if it's simply betting that its notional multi-camera smartphone's unique selling proposition lures enough customers to make a profit. In any case, the idea of a phone that can take 64-megapixel shots is astonishing, and should no doubt make all smartphone enthusiasts pretty excited.
There's also the fact that smartphones have gotten a lot better over the years, but one of the main factors that can still be improved is the camera. It's nice to see a company such as Light trying to innovate this department, and if it's going to head down the smartphone journey, it'll need all the help and luck it can get.