Xiaomi teases a 48MP smartphone camera

Xiaomi president Lin Bin took to Chinese social media platform Weibo to tease a sneak peek at a smartphone with a supposed 48MP camera. He didn’t provide any hard information - like which phone we'll see the camera in - but noted that the phone it’s embedded in will be released in January.

Xiaomi’s phone cameras have lagged behind other smartphones, so this looks like an earnest attempt to leap ahead: if the phone bearing this 48MP camera indeed arrives in January, it will be the first to do so with that many megapixels. 

For reference, Nokia holds the current record with its 41MP Lumia 1020, while the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro both feature 40MP main cameras.

More megapixels, few rumors

The high pixel count is clearly an interesting tidbit, but without more detail on the camera tech or the phone it’s arriving on, we can only speculate what the final product will look like. For example, while the photo is too close-cropped to determine how many lenses it will have, but given the nearby volume rocker, it seems to be in the upper-left corner of the device. 

That means there's a chance it could follow the two-lens vertical setup of the Xiaomi Mi 8 - in which case, the 48MP camera could arrive on the Mi 9, though we haven’t heard any rumors suggesting its imminent arrival. Further, this image doesn’t line up with a previously leaked render, as PocketLint pointed out.

Which 48MP sensor Xiaomi is using is another mystery: It could be the Sony IMX586 (announced back in July) or Samsung’s ISOCELL Bright GM1 (announced in October).

Can't wait to get your hands on a 48MP camera? All we can do is wait until January.

  • Speaking of January, don't forget about CES 2019 - it starts on January 8! 
David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.