On a typical smartphone we’ll see one, maybe two, flashes accompanying the onboard camera, but if Google has its way might more be in the future? Google has been granted a patent for the use of multiple LED flash bulbs — in some cases up to eight — to be used in capturing better photos with the camera technology currently available to handheld devices.
The patent was originally filed for back in September of 2011, so Google has been stewing on the idea for a while. The patent doesn’t necessarily mean Google is actively working on a device with any of the several LED layouts portrayed, but speculation has immediately jumped there anyway.
Remember, Google wasn’t yet in the hardware game at the point the patent was filed, and still technically isn’t, unless you count rumors of the first Motorola device designed with Google’s direct input post-acquisition. Do we think the so-called X phone will feature eight LED flashes? We’d be cautious about jumping on that speculation, but it is obviously something Google might like to see in future devices.
Not only would multiple flashes allow for better lighting, eliminating shadows and bright spots, but the equipment could be used sequentially to snap off a series of several pictures to be stitched together in an HDR-like fashion. The possibilities are as numerous as the flashes themselves. More likely, however, is that sensor technology will advance to take advantage of current flash deployments, rather than vice versa.