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OmniVision Announces Integrated Mini Camera Module for Mobile Phones and Other Portable Digital Devices

OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVTI – news), a leader in designing, developing and marketing advanced, highly integrated CMOS image sensors used in electronic cameras and other optical imaging devices, today announced its OmniStar Cam, a low-power, highly integrated miniature camera module targeted at 2 Gigahertz(G), 2.5G and 3G mobile phones and other portable digital devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). The new camera module, based on OmniVision’s CIF (352×288) resolution, highly integrated CMOS image sensor, is small in size and has low power consumption. The newest offering from OmniVision underscores the company’s commitment to produce cost-effective imaging devices for the high-volume consumer electronics market.

“OmniVision recognizes the importance of developing imaging products that meet the specific requirements of the high-volume mobile phone and PDA market,” said Bob Stroh, vice president of strategic marketing and business development for OmniVision. “Our experience designing and developing a wide range of imaging solutions has enabled us to meet the small form factor and very low power demands of this market. With the OmniStar Cam we have been able to develop a highly integrated and cost-effective solution that we believe will strengthen our position as a leader in producing imaging devices for the OEM market.”

More on the OmniStar Cam
The OmniStar Cam is developed around OmniVision’s OV6645 CMOS image sensor that operates on 3 volts(V) and has a CIF resolution. The 24-lead, LCC-packaged camera chip is enclosed along with a lens in a small 12mm x 12mm x 7mm plastic housing. The entire assembly is mounted on a small flexible circuit that provides a 20-pin, 0.5mm pitch interconnect enabling the use of industry-standard flex circuit connectors. The flex circuit’s length and shape can be tailored to meet specific requirements of high volume users.

The housing and flex circuit are completely shielded from local sources of electro-magnetic interference (EMI) that are commonly encountered in mobile phone handsets. The shielding also protects the cell phones’ sensitive receiver circuits from interference that could be generated by the digital camera.

Module output is a fully processed and the encoded digital video data stream conforms to the ITU-BT.656 digital video standard. As no other image or video processing chips are required to produce the necessary digital video output, the design is simplified and quicker time-to-market can be realized. The streamlined design that utilizes all pre-tested packaged parts enables lower overall costs by achieving high manufacturing yields for the assembled modules.

The image/video processing and encoding is done on-chip in the analog domain, reducing the power required for operation. Current consumption, while producing video at 30 FPS, is listed at less than 15milliamps at 3 volts yielding 45 milliwatts. Standby current is rated at less than ten micro amps yielding only 30 microwatts.

Other on-chip circuits include automatic white balance, automatic gain control and automatic exposure control. If needed, the module offers built-in sub-sampling down to QCIF (176×144) resolution. This frees the targeted product from needing any additional components for image or video generation. Manufacturers of next-generation base-band, accessory processor and compression chips can take the fully encoded data stream input directly for use by their application with no need for extra data processing or color interpolation.

While the standard digital color output is in the YUV 422 color space, YCrCb and raw RGB data is available by simple chip programming over the two-wire serial control interface. The same serial control interface allows the designer extensive control over chip operation, including output configuration, and control of image parameters such as contrast, saturation and hue.

Pricing and availability
Samples of the production version of the OmniStar Cam are now available to qualified OEMs. Volume production is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2001. Also available is a USB-based evaluation platform that interfaces directly to the new module using a flex circuit connector.

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