updated 02:35 pm EDT, Thu June 25, 2009
OmniVision 1080p Phone Cam
OmniVision on Thursday added new camera sensors that could have significance for future smartphones, including the iPhone. The OV5650 can handle 5-megapixel still shooting but is more impressive in video capture, the company says: it can record full 1080p video at 30 frames per second or scale back to 720p in exchange for 60 frames per second. It's also backlit and is roughly 40 percent better in low light than a front-lit system while simultaneously producing a twice as clean signal-to-noise ratio.
A closely related version of the sensor, the OV5653, is meant specifically for dedicated still cameras and camcorders. Both this and the OV5650 are due to start mass production sometime in the second half of this year and should start shipping in the months afterwards.
OmniVision hasn't named any customers but is known to supply the 3.2-megapixel sensor for the iPhone 3GS and so may provide a clue as to features for future iPhones, though some or all of the features may be scaled back. The processor in the current iPhone is technically capable of 720p recording but has been underclocked to manage the power and heat inside the casing. Recording in 720p or 1080p would require a further processor upgrade. [via DigiTimes]