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The camera resolution in smartphones continues to grow. For the rear main camera, demand for 48MP and above resolution returned to growth, collectively accounting for 38.7 percent of total smartphone shipments in Q1 2021, says a new report.

According to market research firm Counterpoint, for the front main camera, the share of 16MP and above megapixel counts edged down to 33.2 percent, down 0.7 percentage points from Q4 2020.

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“With 5G capability spreading to lower price segments, the cost of a smartphone RF front-end subsystem alone has increased by 50 percent with additional frequency band support,” Alicia Gong, Research Analyst, said in a statement.

“The increase in bill of materials (BoM) cost, particularly for low-end to mid-end smartphones, had temporarily slowed down the resolution improvement in Q1 2021,” Gong added.

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However, according to the report, the demand for high-resolution main cameras will continue to increase.

According to the findings from Counterpoint’s Smartphone Camera Tracker, Q1 2021, the shipment share of 108MP jumped to over 3.4 percent in Q1 2021.

The demand for 64MP continues to increase as it has become a sweet spot for the wholesale price band of $300-$499.

This resolution also expands its share in lower price segments like $200-$299 and even $100-$199, although the shift to 64MP from 48MP slows down due to the BoM cost increase, particularly in 5G smartphones.

The 50MP share temporarily declined primarily due to the decrease in Huawei’s premium smartphone shipments.

However, the research firm expects the share to return to growth from Q2 2021 as more Android brands start equipping their flagship models with big-pixel and large-area image sensors.

With a good cost performance balance, 48MP is taking much of shipments across multiple price segments, the report said.

Within the $100-$199 price band, the collective share of 48MP and 64MP reached 46 percent in Q1 2021. Both resolutions are becoming mainstream and will have a long-lasting impact on the rear camera design.

There is little room left for the 20MP-44MP zone and the proportion of 16MP also tends to decrease.

Regarding 13MP and 12MP, the two still commanded the largest shipment share in Q1 2021 with 25.5 percent and 24.6 percent, respectively.

The front-facing camera’s resolution is also continuously improving to shoot super-clear selfie images. In Q1 2021, the collective share of 20MP and above resolutions was back above 20 percent and the high demand will continue with widespread adoption across multiple price segments.

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