The lens unit would operate independently, but could be clamped to a device for convenience.
Your phone's camera still isn't that great, but if you don't want to carry around a point-and-shoot or DSLR, either, what should you do? Sony may have a solution for you: A camera minus the camera — just a lens and sensor that sends the pictures to your smartphone.
The idea is compelling, and the purported lens is actually very similar to a concept device that showed up around the Internet a few years ago: the WVIL, which split into a lens and screen.
Sony's device is said to be essentially just the image-capturing part of its acclaimed RX100 series of compact cameras. About the size of a three Oreos in a stack, according to the image posted to Sony Alpha Rumors, the device would sync with your smartphone, allowing you to put the lens wherever you want and operate it from an app.
Put it on a tripod and take a selfie without having to stretch your arm out. Clamp it to the body of your car and record a road trip from the safety of the cabin. Strap it to the kid and let them roam free while you keep an eye on them via the app. The possibilities are really numerous.
Sony told NBC News that the company "can’t confirm anything at this time."
Sony Alpha Rumors, however, is very confident the device is real, but apart from its existence there doesn't seem to be much else their source has provided. If it's not just vaporware, we'll be sure to hear more about this later on.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.
First published July 22 2013, 10:58 AM