OmniVision's new 12MP CMOS sensor shoots RAW pics and 1080/60p video, looks for smartphone home

So what if Apple looks set to abandon OmniVision in favor of Sony with its next round of portable device cameras? The company that currently provides the none-too-shabby 5 megapixel imager inside the iPhone 4 has just announced a new 12 megapixel sensor and it's a bit of a beast. The OV12825 pairs the goodness of backside illumination with the ability to shoot RAW stills and 1080p video at a bodacious 60fps. Funnily enough, neither feature is a novelty for OmniVision, which has already given the world the option to shoot RAW and to crank Full HD video at 60fps, but nobody has yet been willing to maximize the previous sensors' capabilities. Now that we're finally seeing efficient dual-core solutions making it to smartphones, maybe the time has come? After all, there's gotta be something else to look forward to after 1080/30p, right? OmniVision is offering samples to interested companies right now and expects volume production in the second quarter of the year. Full PR after the break.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif., - April 14, 2011 - OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, today launched a 12.6-megapixel RAW CMOS image sensor for advanced mobile applications. The new OV12825 offers high-resolution still photography and 1080p high-definition (HD) video at 60 frames per second (FPS) with electronic image stabilization (EIS). These features make it an attractive solution for high-end feature and smart phone manufacturers.

"Driven by increasing consumer expectations, the camera phone market continues to demand progressively higher resolutions with full convergence of still photography and quality HD video," said Vinoo Margasahayam, product marketing manager at OmniVision. "The OV12825 answers those demands by providing a high-performance mobile imaging experience. With its impressive array of features and capabilities, this no-compromise CMOS image sensor provides an excellent solution for current and next-generation phones."

The new OV12825 is built on OmniVision's proven 1.4-micron OmniBSI™ pixel architecture, enabling best-in-class pixel performance and low-light sensitivity of 650 mV/(lux-sec). The sensor's binning capability further increases sensitivity in 1080p HD video mode at 60 FPS, while still providing additional pixels for EIS – a feature not available in the majority of 12-megapixel mobile sensors currently on the market. These capabilities allow the OV12825 to achieve remarkable digital still and video camera (DSC/DVC) performance and quality levels required by today's high-end camera phone applications.

The OV12825 has an active array of 4,224 x 3,000 OmniBSI pixels operating at 15 FPS in full resolution. It is offered with industry-standard connectivity including 4-lane MIPI, LVDS and DVP interfaces. The sensor is currently available for sampling, and volume production is expected to begin by the second quarter of 2011.