Phone launches are usually leakier than an Ikea colander, and the release of the upcoming Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro is no exception.
Pictures of the handset, which Xiaomi will formally launch next week, have already been leaked by Chinese regulatory agency TENAA – the country's equivalent of the FCC – showing a handset with five lenses, a curved display and what appears to be a notch.
In reality, most of the details pertaining to the handset have already slipped through the mobile rumour mill. We know, for example, that the device will include Samsung's bonkers ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor, which can take daylight photos with a bonkers 108MP resolution.
That's not a typo, by the way. The ISOCELL Bright HMX includes pixels that are just 0.8 microns across – which is roughly on par with the current crop of 48MP and 64MP sensors. This means that the sensor is physically larger than previous efforts, measuring 1/1.33-inches. Compare that with the 48MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor, which measured 1/1.72-inches.
Of course, the photograph that gets saved on the user's phone isn't anywhere close to 108MP in size. As is common with ultra-high megapixel cameras, the sensor on the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro uses a technique called "pixel binning", where multiple pixels (usually four) are combined into one larger pixel. This will produce shots that will resemble those taking from a 27MP camera with a pixel size of 1.6 microns.
The TENAA filing reveals the handset will pack a massive 5,170mAh battery, paired with a 6.47-inch FHD+ OLED display. Users can choose between 6GB and 12GB of RAM, as well as between 64GB and 256GB of storage.
Personally, if I was buying this, I'd pick the latter. Snap-happy users will have to reconcile with the fact that this camera will produce some phenomenally large photos, which left unchecked will consume much of the internal storage.
Pricing, and the other details still left shrouded, will be revealed on 5 November, when Xiaomi holds one of its largest product events of the year. In addition to the CC9 Pro, we're expecting to see a new Xiaomi watch, which many expect will run Google's Wear OS. The Chinese consumer tech giant is also predicted to announce the new Mi TV5.
The news comes as Xiaomi deepens its footprint within the European tech ecosystem. Earlier today, it announced a new R&D facility in Tampere, Finland, which will focus on developing camera technology. This, according to a company representative, is one of Xiaomi's largest R&D centres outside of mainland China.
"Our Tampere site is Xiaomi's largest camera team outside of China. We're focusing on camera technologies such as camera algorithms, machine learning, signal processing, image and video processing – technologies that are driving the R&D of mobile cameras," said Jarno Nikkanen, senior director and head of Xiaomi Finland R&D, in a statement.
"We are a compact team of around 20 people now, but we are quickly scaling up by building up this team, especially talents specialised in camera algorithm."
Canny readers will remember that this tiny Finnish city was the hub for much of Nokia's product development, and thus is home to a thriving community of engineers and R&D professionals. Xiaomi also adds that Tampere University has a pedigree when it comes to signal processing, which is one of the fundamental technological disciplines behind smartphone cameras. ®