HTC to Add Optical Zoom Capabilities to Handsets Next Year

The company is also planning on adopting 4K, but it will wait a bit longer

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC has big plans for the imaging capabilities of its smartphones, and it might even add optical zoom features inside them starting with the next year.

The newly launched HTC One M8 smartphone landed on shelves late last month with Duo Camera with UltraPixel technology packed inside, which is capable of providing users with a brand new experience when it comes to snapping photos.

This is a great improvement over the 4MP UltraPixel camera that HTC One was launched with last year, but it seems that the handset vendor is planning on pushing things further.

Symon Whitehorn, HTC’s camera expert, explained to Vodafone UK that the vendor is considering moving to 4K resolution, but that it plans on waiting a bit longer before making the move, although it already has the technology ready.

“If you look at 4K quality, it really is only about 8-megapixels. That’s a pretty good level to hold at, because over and above that we’re not sure what benefit you’d be getting. That kind of ballpark is where we’ll be very happy to be in the future, as long as we can maintain the large pixel model,” he said.

More importantly, he also unveiled that HTC was considering the adoption of optical zoom capabilities for its devices. Chances are that it will include it inside its phones in 12-18 months.

“Optical zooming in a smartphone is not too far off at all for HTC. I can’t give too much away, but within 12-18 months we’ll see huge advances in phone optics. That’s why we don’t necessarily believe in doing a high-resolution, photo enlarging solution,” he said.

According to Whitehorn, users rely more and more on their smartphones when it comes to taking photos, and chances are that they will come really close to DSLR cameras in capabilities in the next several years.

“Two years ago I would have said that phones will never replace DSLRs. Now I’m not so sure. I think there’ll always be a role for a dedicated camera, like for sports etc., but I think you’ll see the gap closing,” he said.

For HTC, another focus will be on providing users with a great experience when it comes to the front camera as well. HTC One M8 features a 5MP front camera, which is one of the first steps the company takes in this direction.

“HTC wants to own the selfie market. You’ll see a lot more investment in that area. In some markets 90% of pictures taken are selfies,” Whitehorn said.

“We’re not matching the rear camera on the front side, but the front camera is tuned to help you give the best selfies. It’s no longer the afterthought camera that it’s been for so long.”

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