Motorola X: pure Android, fast upgrades, "Clear Pixel" camera



Since they can't afford to waste battery life on high-power flashes, cameraphones have a tough time handling low light. A new imaging sensor design from Kodak addresses the problem using a different kind of pixel. Today's cameras detect light with an array of red, green and blue pixels-which each see just one color. That means each pixel is ignoring two-thirds of the incoming light. The new sensor adds a panchromatic or "clear" pixel that detects all wavelengths of visible light, making it much more sensitive to the overall light level.

By using a mix of clear and color pixels, the new sensor becomes two to four times as sensitive to low-light conditions. The specific pattern of how the four kinds of pixels are distributed can be varied depending on circumstances-a cameraphone, for instance, might use a pixel pattern that doesn't require much computing power to reconstruct the image from the incoming light data. Another benefit is that greater light sensitivity allows faster shutter speeds, reducing the blur in action shots.