It looks like the minds at Google are continuously cranking out intriguing ideas to forge into reality. A new patent for Google suggests we may someday see a new Nexus or Motorola phone with multiple LED flashes. The patent is very in-depth, and even covers multiple angles and configurations of these additional flashes. It certainly gets the imagination wondering/wandering...
It also begs the question, "Why would you want multiple flashes?"
As it turns out, there are at least a couple of very good reasons to want multiple LED flashes. First, LED flashes try to make a decent approximation of a traditional Xenon flash for the small space and low-power consumption they use, but, they really don't quite cut it in the brightness department. By adding multiple LED flashes, you can keep the power consumption and space down, but by having them flash simultaneously you can potentially deliver Xenon flash characteristics. This could give you dramatically better lighting for photos, and virtually eliminate shadows (one of the common complaints about phone-based pics).
Second, by flashing the LEDs in intervals that are slightly offset to each other, you could achieve some potentially impressive visual effects with your photos, from fancy HDR amalgamations to complex compound 3D images and more. The possibilities are fascinating to contemplate.
If there are any accomplished photographers in the forums today, please share any other possibilities you can envision with a setup like this.