Sharp unveils the industry's thinnest camera sensor, paves the way for thinner smartphones

Sharp's 12-megapixel sensor has built-in image stabilization and is capable of capturing 1080p video

Mobile phones may have the opportunity to get even thinner. Sharp has recently taken the wraps off its new 12-megapixel smartphone camera sensor, which it claims is the thinnest camera sensor on the market.

Measuring in at a mere 5.6 millimeters thick, the sensor has built-in image stabilization and is capable of capturing 1080p high-definition video. The optical image stabilization in the lens makes it ideal for situations where pictures are often blurry due to camera shake, such as low-light situations.

So where will we see the sensor?

Sharp created the sensor "in response to the demand for portable mobile devices with ever more slender designs." Rumors currently point to Sharp providing the touchscreens for Apple's upcoming devices, which would make the company's camera sensor a natural addition. The iPhone's current camera is made by Sony, but Apple being able to get two parts for its phone from the same manufacturer would obviously be a bonus.

The sensor's thin design is likely to make it compelling for a number of manufacturers. Smartphones have started to get thinner and thinner (such as Motorola's new DROID RAZR), but can only get as small as the internals required to build them. If Sharp can create a high-quality product that takes up less space inside a phone than its competitors, smartphone makers are likely to jump on board.

Sample shipments of the sensor started shipping last week to phone makers. Depending on how manufacturers respond, we may see Sharp's sensor show up in handsets soon!

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