updated 06:35 pm EDT, Wed August 24, 2011
OmniVision intros OV5680 sensor for 1080p phones
Launching its second mobile camera sensor this week, OmniVision brought out a new model focused heavily on smartphone video. Its OV5680 shoots stills at a pedestrian five megapixels but is more powerful for movies: it can capture 1080p at 30 frames per second using the full frame, using a scaler that both cuts out lag and allows software-based stabilization. Pixel-binning also lets it capture 720p at 60 frames per second or half of a 3D picture when combined with another sensor.
The chip is built on the same second-generation backside illumination technology as other recent OmniVision sensors. It uses a new, more efficient design that should perform 20 percent better in low light even as it takes up less space.
Test versions of the chip are available to companies now. Production is a distance away, however, and won't be in shipping products until the first half of 2012.
OmniVision doesn't usually name its customers before launch, but it considers Apple one of its most important clients. A five-megapixel sensor would be an odd fit at this stage as Apple is presumed to be using an eight-megapixel iPhone 5 camera and possibly a one-megapixel iPad and iPod camera. These don't preclude use by Apple but could point to another major customer or to an alternative use.