OmniVision announces slimmer 5-megapixel camera sensor capable of 1080p video recording

Wed, May 18, 2011


In early April, Sony CEO Howard Stringer made a surprising revelation when he said that Sony would be supplying the next-gen iPhone with 8 megapixel camera sensors. Stringer’s statement was surprising for a few reasons, one of which was that Apple had long used sensors from OmniVision Technologies in its fleet of iOS products.

While Apple and Omnivision didn’t have a falling out, reports indicated that Omnivision’s planned 8 megapixel camera sensor was experiencing poor chip yields and wouldn’t be ready for a Summer 2012 iPhone launch. Of course, that’s all a moot point now in light of the fact that Apple won’t be releasing a new iPhone until later this Fall at the earliest.

iPhone news aside, OmniVision made an interesting announcement today when it revealed a new 5 megapixel camera sensor capable of capturing video at 1080p. But what’s really intriguing about OminVision’s new sensor is that it measures in at slightly less than 5 mm, making it 20% thinner than other similarly equipped sensors on the market.

OmniVision Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, today introduced the OV5690, the first 5-megapixel image sensor to use OmniVision’s proprietary OmniBSI-2 pixel architecture. The new 1.4-micron backside illumination pixel allows for a full five megapixels in a 1/4-inch optical format, and combines best-in-class image quality with a 20┬ápercent reduction in camera module height, making it an effective solution for slimmer mobile handsets, smart phones and tablet computers.

Again, with Apple reportedly eying an 8 megapixel camera in the next iPhone, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the OV5690 in a brand spakin’ new iPhone model. But that still leaves room for the iPod touch and the iPad to up their respective camera games. Remember that Apple has previously been forced to sacrifice camera quality in order to maintain design aesthetics it didn’t want to stray from – the third-gen iPod Touch comes to mind.

But this higher quality, and importantly slimmer, camera module from OmniVision will hopefully pave the way for better picture quality on the rest of Apple’s mobile lineup. While the camera on the iPhone 4 is quite good, the same can’t be said of the iPad and the iPod Touch.



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