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OmniVision Launches New CMOS Sensor - Could End Up in Future iPhones

OmniVision has unveiled its brand new camera sensor. The new design is touted to be the most sophisticated image quality found in smartphones. It is however believed that the new sensor could find a perfect home within the next generation iPhone.

The new sensor, model number OV8820, is a significant upgrade from previous iterations. "Industry research firm Yole Developpement is forecasting that 8-megapixel resolution sensors will hold over a third of the market share for camera phones by 2015," said Vinoo Margasahayam, product marketing manager for OmniVision. "The smart phone segment is leading this trend towards higher resolution sensors requiring near-DSC quality photography, autofocus functionality and high quality video recording. The OV8820's ability to deliver high quality, fast frame rate image capture and HD video recording in a compact format meets the critical requirements for next generation mobile handsets, and particularly for smart phones. We have also added some unique features to OV8820 that improve the user experience, such as full field of view HD video with image stabilization, making this sensor a highly attractive product for this fast growing market segment” he also added.

This new sensor is an 8MP variation, and it’s perfectly capable of taking shots in low-lit situations. There’s also an electronic stabilization feature, ensured to reduce shake with each photo taken. The sensor is capable of capturing 720p60, and 1080p30, with hardware scaling.

The OV8820 operates at 24 frames per second (fps) in a 4:3 format and in 6-megapixel (3264 x 1836) resolution at 30 fps in a 16:9 format. These higher frame rates mean, no image lag for shutter-less designs, continuous shooting, minimized rolling shutter effect, real-time image capture with no lag between resolutions, and full HD at 30 or 60 fps. A high-speed, 4-lane MIPI interface facilitates the required high data transfer rate.

One of the advanced features of the OV8820 is an integrated scaler, which enables EIS and maintains full FOV with improved signal-to-noise performance in 1080p HD video mode operating at 30 fps. Another key image processing feature is a 2 x 2 binning functionality with a post-binning re-sampling filter function that minimizes spatial artefacts and removes image artefacts around edges to deliver clean, crisp colour images. This is important to achieve best-in-class 720p HD video.

OmniVision's OmniBSI backside illumination pixel architecture possesses excellent low-light sensitivity. The technology also provides improved quantum efficiency, reduced cross talk and low photo response non-uniformity, which all contribute towards significant improvements in image quality and overall camera performance. The integrated scaler, enables EIS and maintains full FOV with improved signal-to-noise performance in 1080p HD video mode operating at 30 fps. Another key image processing feature is a 2 x 2 binning functionality with a post-binning re-sampling filter function that minimizes spatial artefacts and removes image artefacts around edges to deliver clean, crisp color images. This is important to achieve best-in-class 720p HD video.

OmniVision's OmniBSI backside illumination pixel architecture delivers excellent low-light sensitivity. The technology also provides improved quantum efficiency, reduced cross talk and low photo response non-uniformity, which all contribute towards significant improvements in image quality and overall camera performance.

As a RAW sensor, the OV8820 is designed for 2-chip solutions that involve the sensor working in conjunction with a baseband or an application processor with integrated image signal processing. The low power OV8820 has an on-chip VCM driver and fast mode switching between different resolutions. Other integrated features of the OV8820 include temperature sensing, 256 bytes of one-time programmable memory, lens shading correction and defect pixel correction. The OV8820 fits into the industry standard module size of 8.5 x 8.5 mm.

Companies are getting test samples starting from today, with mass production starting in March 2011.

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