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Smartphones with bigger-than-10-megapixel cameras to explode in popularity

Smartphones and tablets with powerful cameras featuring lenses with 10-megapixel resolutions and higher started appearing on the market this year. It's a growing trend and devices sporting such cameras will be "mainstream" in 2014, according to Largan Precision.

The Taiwan-based lens module manufacturer, reporting earnings recently, said "almost all" of its customers "have adopted or will adopt above 10-megapixel lens modules for smartphones or tablets to be launched" next year, according to DigiTimes.

The trend towards more powerful cameras in mobile devices has been building for a while.

Nokia has been leading the charge with Windows Phones featuring cameras which push the lens resolution envelope — the Nokia Lumia 1020's 41-megapixel sensor being the extreme example of this — but Samsung and others have also been coming on of late with phones and phablets sporting cameras in the 13-megapixel range.

During Largan's call with investors, CEO Lin En-ping broke down some rough numbers for the company's third-quarter shipments by lens module type, giving us an idea of just how quickly this trend has been accelerating.

Of the lens modules Largan shipped in the quarter, Lin said 10 to 20 per cent were 13-megapixels and above, 30 to 40 per cent were 8-megapixel parts, 20 to 30 per cent were 5-megapixel modules, and 20 to 30 per cent were 1.3-megapixel and below models, the last group likely used for the typically front-facing mobile device cameras used for video chatting.