OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVTI), a leading independent supplier of CMOS image sensors for high-volume applications, launched the OV3640, the first fully integrated 3-megapixel CameraChip(TM) sensor in a 1/4-inch format. Based on the new 1.75-micron OmniPixel3(TM) architecture, the OV3640 is small enough to fit the standard 8 x 8 mm sockets used in 2-megapixel camera phones, making it an ideal drop-in upgrade for existing handset designs.
The highly integrated OV3640 features a high-speed, two-lane mobile industry processor interface (MIPI) to enable the fast transfer of large blocks of data, which is critical to making effective use of increased camera resolutions. In addition, the new sensor incorporates advanced image signal processing and onboard JPEG compression to allow existing baseband processors without MIPI to support a camera upgrade to 3-megapixels at 15 frames per second in full resolution.
In addition to MIPI, the OV3640 also incorporates advanced image stabilization functionality similar to that used in digital still camera (DSC) and camcorder products. In low light situations, cameras need a longer exposure time, which in turn, requires the photographer to keep a steady hand. Camera phones with an OV3640 sensor will automatically sense the slightest camera shake and activate the image stabilization function to help prevent image blur and produce sharper images.
The new features and improvements incorporated in the OV3640 are focused specifically on improving image quality and camera performance, both critical drivers for market acceptance of higher resolution cameras in the handset market. These new features and improvements include a new read-out circuit for significantly reduced noise; improved high resolution image signal processing for better overall camera performance and image quality; a black level follower for stronger image contrast; easy black level calibration to eliminate the need for gain adjust; integrated auto-focus control for 8.5 x 8.5 mm auto focus camera modules and improved scaling to facilitate smooth zoom function.
“OmniVision has always had a commitment to bringing the consumer advanced features that make camera phones more user friendly and deliver performance and picture quality comparable to DSCs,” said James He, Chief Operating Officer at OmniVision. “By integrating advanced features into the sensor, including a high-speed interface, while delivering it in the compact 1/4 inch footprint, the OV3640 provides handset manufacturers with a very attractive solution for next generation thin handset designs.”
The OV3640 is the first product launched by OmniVision based on the recently-announced OmniPixel3 architecture, which at 1.75 microns is among the smallest currently commercially available. OmniPixel3 is designed to focus light onto the sensor more effectively, allowing the pixels to capture significantly more light and thus make more effective use of the smaller pixel’s active area. The resulting improved fill factor and increased sensitivity deliver more vibrant and true-to-life color reproduction. OmniPixel3′s optimized pixel symmetry avoids color distortion and offers improved dynamic range of up to 65dB. New process technology optimizations help OmniPixel3 achieve ultra low dark current (30 e/sec) and low defect density, making this technology ideal for use in low light and variable light conditions. Further innovations include a new transfer gate design process and contact technologies that achieve lag-free operation throughout the signal range. Eliminating read-out lag ensures that no ‘ghost images’ or unwanted noise are present in the imaging process.
The OV3640 is currently available for customer sampling. Volume production is expected by Q4 of 2007.
OmniVision Technologies designs and markets high-performance semiconductor image sensors. Its OmniPixel(R), OmniPixel2(TM), OmniPixel3(TM) and CameraChip(TM) products are highly integrated single-chip CMOS image sensors for mass-market consumer and commercial applications such as mobile phones, digital still cameras, security and surveillance systems, interactive video games, lap-tops and PCs and automotive and medical imaging systems.
OmniVision(R) and the OmniVision logo are registered trademarks of OmniVision Technologies, Inc., CameraChip(TM), OmniPixel2(TM) and OmniPixel3(TM) are trademarks of OmniVision Technologies, Inc.