updated 06:50 pm EDT, Thu May 26, 2011
OmniVision alludes to Apple, maybe Nintendo deals
OmniVision in its quarterly results call Thursday night dropped clues as to its possible iPhone production plans as well as a key console deal. The camera sensor maker said it was transitioning much of its smartphone work to eight-megapixel sensors and was seeing strong orders from "key customers in the smartphone market" for the next few months ahead. It also clarified plans for its next-generation eight-megapixel sensor, the OV8830; it planned to ship the sensor to "premier brand name" smartphone creators when it was ready in the second half of the year.
Executives during the call also cast doubt on talk of supply shortages that might cost orders to Apple or other companies. OmniVision wasn't constrained by supply and was just making "strategic" use of what it had in a market that was changing rapidly, the firm said.
Leaks and rumors have been gathering steam that point to an eight-megapixel iPhone camera that OmniVision is likely to supply. While Sony's CEO hinted at a deal switch, OmniVision has been Apple's main camera supplier since the iPhone launched. The OV8830 is ideally suited to Apple's goals with a focus on improved light sensitivity and better color accuracy as well as 1080p video recording.
Console plans were also unusually singled out during the call. The company said it had obtained a "significant design win" to supply cameras for a game console that would be ready in the next several months.
While the customer wasn't named, it wasn't likely to be Microsoft given that it already has a deal with the Kinect. With Sony more likely to use its own sensors for the NGP, the deal is more likely to focus on Nintendo's Project Cafe. The sequel to the Wii is rumored to be getting a controller with a camera for self-portraits and other photo-related gameplay that would need phone-sized sensors like those made by OmniVision.
Nintendo has already promised a sequel to the Wii for 2012 and plans to show it at E3 in early June.