New smartphone camera technology allows for better image quality in thinner designs

Toshiba Camera Technology

Smartphone cameras have improved greatly over the past years, so much so that they have begun to replace traditional point-and-shoot cameras. Image quality has become one of the main selling points for some smartphone vendors, and with each new flagship device comes more megapixels and better image sensors. Toshiba (TOSBF) this week announced the industry’s thinnest CMOS image sensor camera module for next-generation smartphones and tablets. The new sensor is just 4.7 mm in height and will allow mobile vendors to incorporate a high-end 13-megapixel shooter in a ultra-thin frame.

“Toshiba once again proves its technical expertise in the development of this ultra-low height module enabling customers to create the thin, attractive mobile products that consumers have come to expect,” says Andrew Burt, vice president of the Analog and Imaging Business Unit, System LSI Group at TAEC. “Our strategy of continuous innovation and enhancement to the TAEC systems offering, especially for the camera/imaging markets, provides the technology solutions that will drive thinner mobile devices without compromising picture quality or performance.”

Toshiba’s new camera module and image sensor will be available for manufacturers in May. The company’s press release follows below.

Toshiba Announces Thinnest Camera Module With High Resolution, 13 Mega Pixel, Image Sensor For Top-Quality Pictures

New Camera Module Will Drive Next-Generation, Ultra-Thin Smartphones and Tablets

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC)*, a committed leader that collaborates with technology companies to create breakthrough designs, today announces the industry’s thinnest CMOS image sensor camera module with high-resolution, 13 mega pixel (MP), imaging ideal for next-generation, ultra-thin smartphones and tablet devices. The new TCM9930MD leverages an advanced image pre-processing LSI (companion) chip and a refined module structure to create a compact image sensor camera module with the industry’s lowest profile at just 4.7 mm in height.

Achieving today’s high-resolution CMOS image sensors requires a larger optical size for corresponding lenses which results in a thicker camera module and a bulkier mobile device. The conventional method for lowering the camera module height is to modify the optical lens design which becomes problematic due to resolution drop around the corners of the image area. The TCM9930MD, however, resolves this drop in resolution with the use of the image pre-processing LSI (companion) chip that provides distortion correction and performs image resolution reconstruction (1). Additionally, the TCM9930MD achieves its low profile by using a flip-chip structure for the image sensor. Toshiba opted to use flip-chip packaging because it allows for a large number of interconnects, with shorter distances than wire, which greatly reduces assembling area and package height.

“Toshiba once again proves its technical expertise in the development of this ultra-low height module enabling customers to create the thin, attractive mobile products that consumers have come to expect,” says Andrew Burt, vice president of the Analog and Imaging Business Unit, System LSI Group at TAEC. “Our strategy of continuous innovation and enhancement to the TAEC systems offering, especially for the camera/imaging markets, provides the technology solutions that will drive thinner mobile devices without compromising picture quality or performance.”

Pricing and Availability

Sample pricing for the TCM9930MD camera module is set at $80 (U.S.). The TCM9930MD is expected to be available in sample quantities by May 2013.

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