February 14, 2007 The 3GSM World Congress is on this week in Barcelona and lots of interesting and significant announcements are being made which will shape the next generation of mobile handsets. One that will certainly have an impact was from OmniVision which is a major supplier of CMOS CameraChip solutions for high-volume imaging applications. OmniVision announced the details of a 5.17 megapixel auto-focus camera module for mobile handsets based around the OV5623 CameraChip sensor. The new 14mm x 14mm x 8.75mm module, which OmniVision is premiering at, paves the way for high-resolution cameras to enter the mainstream mobile handset market.
The new 5 megapixel camera module provides an affordable, quality-driven solution that builds on the company's leadership in the CMOS digital imaging market. The introduction of the 5 megapixel camera solution with auto-focus capability, a function previously associated with digital still cameras (DSC) and expensive camera phones, brings high image quality and camera performance closer to the mainstream camera phone market.
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"Our handset customers are constantly looking to move up the 'megapixel curve' in order to provide DSC-quality imaging on mass market camera phones," commented Jess Lee, Vice President of Mainstream Products at OmniVision. "With the introduction of this advanced 5 megapixel product, OmniVision is providing handset manufacturers with a truly affordable solution that can differentiate their models in the highly competitive mobile handset market. We expect 5 megapixel cameras to become the norm for high performance mobile handsets as consumers' expectations of quality and functionality continue to evolve. The module is already in mass production and in development with customers, and we expect to be shipping soon."
The principal market for the new product is the camera phone market, but OmniVision's 5 megapixel image sensor is equally well suited to DSC video and hybrid camera applications.
The OV5623 CameraChip sensor at the heart of the 5 megapixel module has an optical format of just 1/2.5 inches and a 2592 x 1944 image array with digital image stabilization capability. A 10-bit A/D converter enables the OV5623 to operate at 7.5 frames per second (fps) in full resolution or 60 fps at a 864 x 648 resolution for enhanced video viewing on a TV screen.
The OV5623 is built using OmniVision's proprietary OmniPixel2(TM) technology, an innovative pixel design manufactured using 0.13-micron CMOS process technology. OmniPixel2 is critical to the sensor's high dynamic range and truer-to-life color reproduction. The OV5623 design incorporates OmniVision's zero-gap micro-lens structures, improving the overall sensitivity of the device. In addition, the sensor's improved quantum efficiency optimizes image performance by further increasing full well capacity - the amount of charge an individual pixel can hold before saturating.