For the last few years, front-facing cameras existed to serve those who had some desire to take self-portraits. “Selfie” wasn’t really a word placed in the Oxford English Dictionary until 2013. Most front-facing cameras were taken for granted in the pre-selfie days, and most front-facing cameras came in the 1MP or 2MP range.
Most front-facing cameras on popular smartphones such as the iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S5, the Sony Xperia Z, Z1, and Z2, as well as the LG G3, don’t come with a mind-blowing megapixel count. And, if you listen to some tech analysts long enough, you’ll believe that megapixels don’t matter.
On the other hand, our back cameras are growing in megapixel count each day, with Sony now producing 21MP cameras (or 20.7MP, to be exact), Samsung producing a 21MP back camera in its Galaxy K and Galaxy S4 Zoom camera smartphones, and Samsung producing a 16MP camera on the Galaxy S5. LG’s only ventured out to 13MPs in its G3, and Sony and Samsung are currently the winners on the Android front in terms of their back camera megapixel counts (the Xperia Z2 and Galaxy S5 tie internationally in image quality).
With HTC’s One M8 success (short-lived at best) and Microsoft’s failure to capture enough of the market to make a dent in the success of iOS and Android, both HTC and Microsoft are looking to carve out a new competitor category: the category of the selfie smartphone.
We’ve to give kudos to HTC for placing a 5MP front-facing camera into the HTC One M8; it’s because of HTC’s decision that Sony decided to create its Xperia C3 with a 5MP front-facing camera. Now, Microsoft looks to join the crowd with a 5MP “selfie” camera smartphone of its own.
According to the information we’ve been given, Stephen Elop, now in charge of Microsoft’s mobile hardware division, gave Microsoft employees a foretaste of a selfie camera smartphone that the Satya Nadella-led company looks to unveil sometime in the future. All we know at this point is that it’s a 4.7-inch device with a 5MP front-facing camera and that it’s designed for “selfies,” for those who can’t get enough at looking at themselves (we hear someone whispering “narcissist” in the background). This new selfie camera smartphone has been codenamed “Superman,” but will be a mid-range device running Windows Phone 8.1.
Alongside of Microsoft’s selfie camera smartphone, the company looks to unveil another flagship Lumia device, but we have nothing concrete on the device except recent images that lead us to believe the new device will be called the Lumia 830.
And while Microsoft plans its own entrance into the selfie camera smartphone arena, HTC will capitalize on the limited success it’s had with the HTC One M8. HTC Corp. looks to bring a Windows Phone version of the HTC One M8 to Verizon in the near future. The device will bear the same specs as that of the HTC One M8 – the one difference being its operating system (Windows Phone instead of Android). It seems as though HTC sees the potential to gain some market share from Windows users if it hasn’t seen as much success with Android users as it’d hoped.
We’re pretty sure that HTC will likely promise two-year upgrades in addition to a one-time free screen replacement when the HTC One M8 for Windows phone (yes, that’ll be the name of the device when it goes official on Big Red’s network) goes official.
Samsung’s not staying behind; the world’s largest Android OEM looks to increase its front-facing “selfie” camera on the Galaxy Note 4 to a 3.7MP or 4MP camera instead of the usual 2.1MP front camera we’ve seen in a number of Galaxy offerings. We don’t think that selfie cameras are the most important component of a smartphone – but it’s nice to see selfie cameras getting upgrades. Now, we just need more battery life and more innovative software from renown manufacturers.