updated 09:35 am EDT, Tue May 27, 2008
OmniVision 8MP Cell Camera
Omnivision today said it has developed a new camera sensor that should radically improve the quality of photography from cellphones. A variant of the company's OmniBSI chip technology allows the company to fill each individual pixel on the sensor with much more light than previously possible by literally flipping the sensor upside down and lighting its back. In doing so, the company says it can pack a much more dense sensor into the same space as an equivalent model. An eight-megapixel sensor can already fit in the space occupied by a three-megapixel sensor today, the company says.
The company expects to start sampling the sensors for companies using the technique by June and anticipates products using the camera to reach the market by 2009. None of its prospective customers have been named.
Cellphone camera resolutions have frequently lagged significantly behind their dedicated equivalents due in part to sensor size, which until now has been severely limited by the dimensions of the phone itself. Most phones with sensors larger than 3.2 megapixels, such as the 5-megapixel Nokia N95 8GB or the 10-megapixel Samsung B600, often resort to far bulkier designs to accommodate the sensor without sacrificing key features.