Two unreleased Sony camera sensors show up for Chrome devices

The as-yet-unreleased IMX355 and IMX319 Sony camera sensors have shown up on Chromium code-review, hinting that we could see Chrome OS devices with competitive and capable cameras come to market.

The new Sony Exmor IMX sensors look to be unannounced successors to the IMX318 and IMX350, staples among mid-to-high-end smartphones. The former was found in the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 and the latter in the OnePlus 5. The submissions (IMX319 and IMX355) unfortunately don’t mention the specs of the sensors, so we can’t see how they compare to the current generation. For reference, the IMX318 is a 1/2.6 type sensor with 22.5MP, while the IMX350 is a 1/2.78 type with 20MP.

It’s fairly unsurprising news that IMX sensors are due for a refresh. The smartphone camera is a highly competitive space with device makers finding creative ways to market their imaging capabilities (more AI! More cameras!). But the fact they are landing in the Chromium Git means a shift in tone for Chrome OS devices; a push to develop in a space where Chrome OS has lagged for years.

“Functional” would be the choice word to describe cameras on Chromebooks in the past. The built-in cameras were rarely touted, aside from novel (gimmicky?) features like a swiveling combined front/rear-facing camera. Times are changing though. With new tablet and convertible devices on the rise with better Android integration, Google can no longer skim past that part of the spec sheet.

Acer Chromebook Tab 10 forthcoming

While the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 still hasn’t hit shelves since its delayed April launch, we expect the camera to be one area where it falls short of its Apple rival thanks to its weak sensor.

This isn’t the first sign of Chrome devices stepping up the camera game. The forthcoming Chromebook codename Nautilus features a mid-range Sony Exmor IMX258 sensor – a tried-and-tested sensor found in the likes of the LG G6 and Oneplus X – but the introduction of two new sensors means that Google and its OEM partners won’t settle the bar there.

The IMX319 and IMX355 haven’t been attached to a developing Chrome device yet, but we look forward to the prospect of better hardware and form-factors to suit a high-quality camera experience on Chrome OS.