Smartphone cameras have evolved tremendously over the last few years — but there’s still room for improvement.
That’s where something like InVisage Technologies’ QuantumFilm comes in, which can supercharge smartphone cameras for higher quality photos and better performance in crazy lighting conditions.
The company is announcing today that it has raised an additional $18 million of funding from GGV Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, and others, bringing its total funding to more than $100 million.
Founded in 2006, InVisage first showed off its QuantumFilm sensor technology at the DEMO conference in 2010 (which was co-run by VentureBeat). Now, the company is using its latest funding to ramp up production for its first round of customers.
InVisage’s QuantumFilm technology relies on a layer of quantum dot film atop a traditional silicon wafer, making it almost as easy to produce as today’s CMOS camera sensors. QuantumFilm allows ultra-thin smartphones to sport higher resolutions and better light sensitivity, along with intriguing features like the ability to digitally zoom without losing much detail, as well as refocusing a photo after you’ve taken it.
Jess Lee, InVisage’s president and CEO, tells me its first product will sit at the “very high end of the smartphone camera market.” The company expects to deliver its final product samples to manufacturing partners within the next few quarters, and it will take another six to nine months before the technology can be implemented in future products.
Basically, don’t expect a QuantumFilm-powered smartphone camera until late next year.
“What we’re finding in the marketplace is the beginning of a new revolution of smartphones,” Lee said in an interview. “Cameras used to be a gimmick, now they’re kind of a mainstay. … Everyone’s trying to differentiate on screen and camera features.”
Indeed, both Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and HTC’s new One focused a great deal on their respective cameras. These days, having a boring camera simply won’t cut it in the mobile marketplace. (Despite all of the new One’s camera issues, at least it tries to be different.)