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Samsung Reveals the Tech Behind Its New 108MP 'Nonacell' Image Sensor – PetaPixel

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After unveiling the Galaxy S20 Ultra with its monstrous (or ridiculous?) 108MP image sensor, Samsung has decided to pull back the curtain and reveal some details about this chip and the technology that made it possible.

At its core, the so-called ISOCELL Bright HM1 image sensor that’s inside the new Galaxy S20 Ultra is probably the same chip as the ISOCELL Bright HMX that Samsung first revealed in August of last year. There’s little reason to believe that Samsung developed a whole new sensor architecture in order to create the HM1. Instead, what they seem to have done is slap a new kind of bayer array on top that they’re calling “nonacell.”

As the simple graphic below demonstrates, the HM1 sensor takes the quad-bayer “tetracell” technology found in Samsumg sensors like the HMX—which lumps together four pixels into one—and increases the binning to a 3×3-pixel area. This is only really possible with a sensor with an absurd resolution like 108MP, which still drops all the way to 12MP in “nonacell” mode:

This helps Samsung to overcome the issues inherent in putting so many pixels on such a small chip. Even at 1/1.33-inch, the individual pixels are only 0.8μm, but when you lump 9 of them together into a single “photocell,” you can mimic the light gathering capability of much larger 2.4μm pixels—at the cost of resolution, of course.

According to Samsung, the main challenge of lumping more and more pixels together into larger pseudo-pixels is color interference. But thanks to its “ISOCELL Plus” tech, the company was finally able to do it.

“As the number of adjoined cells increase, so does color interference, making pixel-binning technologies more challenging,” writes Samsung. “While such difficulties had limited Nonacell to a theory, the HM1 was able to realize the method by adopting Samsung’s ISOCELL Plus technology, which dramatically reduces crosstalk and minimizes optical loss as well as light reflection.”

This breakthrough allegedly more-then-doubles the light gathering capability of even the “tetracell” tech in the ISOCELL Bright HMX, and leaves us hopeful that the S20 Ultra’s 108MP camera might actually be usable in low-light.

Additionally, it seems that the Nonacell tech also allows the sensor to capture 12MP photos at 3x digital zoom without upscaling, because the chip “directly convert[s] the pixels using an embedded hardware IP.” Another neat trick we could all use in a pinch.

All of this is fascinating, and might just offer a glimpse at the future of image sensor technology for larger cameras as well. Of course, we’ll have to wait until we have a Galaxy S20 Ultra in for testing, but we’re almost more excited to see if major camera companies like Sony decide to go all-in on quad-bayer sensors (and beyond) for their bigger chips, the way that Samsung has for smartphone sensors.

The evidence so far is promising.

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League of Legends Trailer Teases New Champion – ComicBook.com

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Riot Games released a new League of Legends trailer on Wednesday giving us a stylish preview of a new champion coming to the game. The trailer shows a slain swordsman who “must decide if he will make peace with his past—or be consumed by it” as he struggles with his new place in the afterlife and the events that brought him there. This character shown is connected to the Spirit Blossom event and is the second of the two champions teased earlier in the year. July 22nd was mentioned in the trailer, so we can look forward to that date to see more about the champion and the event.

The Ionian swordsman in the trailer finds himself in the afterlife where he instinctively reaches for his blade only to find it’s not with him. After traveling for a while with a companion serving as his guide, he diverts to a more sinister location where he confronts his past.

If you’ve been keeping up with League of Legends leaks and rumors recently and have some understanding of different champions’ backstories, you likely already have an idea of who this character is. This champion is thought to be Yone, Yasuo’s half-brother. Yasuo’s lore said the two were close, but when Yasuo was framed for the death of a revered elder who Yasuo apprenticed under, Yone was honor-bound to challenge him. Yasuo won the duel and killed Yone.

Yone confronts this memory after deviating from the main path in the trailer when he finds his own body slain on the ground. After a fight with a demon, Yone is seemingly returned to the living world, though not exactly as he was before. Part of the afterlife – including the demon – seems to have come back with him, thus giving us the masked assassin who’s been teased numerous times in the past.

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As for Yone’s abilities, we can only tell so much from the cinematic, but a blend of swordplay and otherworldly powers is expected. We know he’s indeed an assassin just like Yasuo is and that he’s not a Darkin despite what his appearance and weapon might indicate. There certainly looks like there’s an internal struggle still raging within him based on the trailer and past teasers that showed him with one red eye and one blue, but it’s unknown now how his two sides will manifest themselves on Summoner’s Rift.

League of Legends still has to release Lillia before we get to Yone, so look forward to that champ’s release first while we wait to learn more about the assassin.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.

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Google Promises the EU It Won’t Use Fitbit Health Data to Target Ads – Barron's

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Courtesy of Fitbit

Potentially softening the ground for its pending acquisition of Fitbit, Alphabet pledged late Monday not to use health data from the fitness tracking company to target ads.

Fitbit
stock (ticker: FIT) rose 3.2% to $6.84 Tuesday, trading below the $7.35 a share offer in the November acquisition bid from Google, which has come under pressure from regulators in Australia, Europe, and the U.S. amid antitrust concerns. Coupled with antitrust worries, regulators have outlined privacy concerns with combining the cache of Fitbit health data with Google’s much larger data set of its users.

Alphabet (GOOGL) said in a statement that it would work “with the European Commission on an approach that safeguards consumers’ expectations that Fitbit device data won’t be used for advertising.”

The European Commission extended its deadline for a decision about the acquisition to Aug. 4 from July 20 as a result of Google’s offer. Class A shares of
Alphabet,
which runs Google, rose 0.6% to $1,520.86 Tuesday.

Barron’s last discussed Fitbit June 19, saying then that the stock looked cheap. Alphabet has agreed to pay $7.35 a share but in June the stock was trading at a steep 13% discount to its acquisition price—lower still when an Australian regulator began to make noise about the deal, too.

Since Barron’s published the story, shares have climbed about 6%, outperforming the indexes, though if the deal closes at $7.35, there is 8.6% of upside remaining. The
S&P 500 index
advanced 1.9% in the same period, as the
Nasdaq Composite index
has gained 4.9%.

Roy Behren of Westchester Capital Management told Barron’s Tuesday in a phone interview that the recent Fitbit stock move means the market is now implying there is roughly an 80% the deal will close, an increase from the 70% to 75% chance in June. “I think the market has become a little bit more comfortable with the regulatory review,” he said. “This increases the chances it will be cleared in a phase one review.”

Fitbit has captured roughly 3% of the wearables market, compared with
Apple
(AAPL), which has about 29% market share, according to IDC data.

The deal values Fitbit at $2.1 billion and the companies have until Nov. 1 to seal the deal—with a maximum extension date of May 1, 2021, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Write to Max A. Cherney at max.cherney@barrons.com

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Ghost Of Tsushima And Paper Mario Will Be $10 Off On Release Day – GameSpot

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Later this week, exciting new exclusives for Nintendo Switch and PS4 arrive. Paper Mario: The Origami King and Ghost of Tsushima both release on July 17, which means it could be an expensive day for video games if you own both platforms. If you’re looking to snag one or both, Walmart is once again offering a $10 discount at launch, so you can pick up Paper Mario: The Origami King and Ghost of Tsushima for $49.94 each.

While these are stellar deals, Walmart is only offering the discounted price for either game when shopping in store. You can enter your zip code on BrickSeek to make sure that your local Walmart is offering the discounts. If you look on Walmart’s website, you’ll see that both games are listed at $60 for online orders. Sometimes Amazon matches Walmart’s launch discounts, but that typically only happens when Walmart is also offering the discount on its site.

For those who don’t live near a Walmart store or don’t feel like heading out to pick up a video game, make sure to check out our pre-order guides for Paper Mario: The Origami King and Ghost of Tsushima for more details on where you can order these games. For instance, GameStop has an exclusive pin set for Paper Mario, and the PlayStation Store has a Digital Deluxe edition of Ghost of Tsushima that comes with a bunch of additional goodies.

Also, if you want to order online and get Paper Mario: The Origami King and/or Ghost of Tsushima on release day, Best Buy or Walmart is the way to go at this point. While other retailers are showing delivery dates that stretch into next week, you can still get free release date delivery for both titles at Walmart and Best Buy.

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