updated 03:20 pm EST, Thu December 3, 2009
Google and MS join image quality initiative
Google and Microsoft have simultaneously joined the Camera Phone Image Quality Initiative in a bid to drive up the quality of handsets. Along with existing partners, the two are helping to create a rating system that will judge cameras on phones through factors beyond just resolution, such as the actual sharpness of the picture, the amount of visible noise, color reproduction and lens artifacts like distortion or chromatic effects ("purple fringing").
The effort addresses a common complaint regarding misleading representations of quality, as some phones will tout 8 megapixels or more but will frequently be saddled with poor image processing or a low-quality (often plastic) lens that produces lower quality. The 5-megapixel camera on the HTC Hero, for example, often produces images with lower image quality than the 3.2-megapixel unit on the iPhone 3GS.
Group members haven't yet finalized the criteria but hope to summarize quality with a star rating determined through a series of standard tests. The involvement of Google and Microsoft will likely lead to the ratings being applied to future Android and Windows Mobile phones.
The Initiative already claims several important members, including Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson as well as camera equipment designers like Aptina, Fujifilm and Kodak. Apple's key supplier for iPhone cameras, OmniVision, is a member of the organization. [via CNET]