For years the benchmark for smartphone cameras was megapixels—years of single lenses with increasingly powerful sensors behind them. If Light has any say in it, however, the new frontier is lenses, and lots of them.
You might remember Light from last year, when the company was all over the news for their $2,000 16-lens “L16” camera. The curious monstrosity, seen below, packed sixteen lenses, each with individual sensors, apertures, and characteristics, into a chunky rectangular smartphone-like-box:
Now the company wants to bring that lens-for-every-situation design to the smartphone market. While a nine-lens design on a smartphone might seem a bit extreme, it wasn’t so long ago single lens designs were the norm and now multiple-lens designs (like the now common dual setup on the iPhone 8 and the less common quad setup on the Huawei P20 Pro) are slowly creeping into the market.
Light plans to formally announce the phone, with pricing and availability, this fall—at which point we’ll see if there’s a better market for a lens-bedecked smartphone than there was a for a compact camera bristling with lenses.