OmniVision's new 5 megapixel CMOS sensor shoots 1080p video, is built for 'slimmer' devices

Apple might be poised to ditch OmniVision for its next round of iPhone / iPod Touch cameras, but that hasn't stopped the company from trotting out a fresh crop of sensors. Weeks after unveiling a beastly 12 megapixel number, it's announced the OV5690, a 5 megapixel chip, and the first to use the company's second-generation OmniBSI-2 pixel architecture. In addition to shooting 5 megapixel stills, it records 1080p video at 30 frames per second and 720p movies at 60fps. And, most notably, OmniVision cut the sensor's height by 20 percent in the hopes that it'll find a home in "slimmer" smartphones and tablets. So far, it's unclear what devices will incorporate it -- the company says key vendors are sampling the sensor at the moment, with mass production expected to begin in the second half of this year. Full PR after the break.

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OmniVision Launches 5-Megapixel OmniBSI-2™ Image Sensor For Slimmer Tablets and Smart Phones
1.4-Micron OmniBSI-2 Pixel Maintains Best-In-Class Image Quality While Reducing Camera Module Height by 20 Percent

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), 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 percent reduction in camera module height, making it an effective solution for slimmer mobile handsets, smart phones and tablet computers.

"With industry sources placing 5-megapixel CMOS image sensors at more than 15 percent of the overall sensor market today, we view 5-megapixel sensors as occupying as a sweet spot in the market," said Per Rosdahl, product marketing manager at OmniVision. "Some industry analysts believe that market share may exceed 30 percent by 2014(1) driven by the demand for higher performance resolution and increasingly slim mobile handsets, smart phone and tablet designs. With the OV5690 CameraChip™, OmniVision brings a highly competitive, no-compromise solution to market, combining best-in-class performance while enabling extremely thin building height."

Based on OmniVision's efficient second-generation OmniBSI-2 technology, the OV5690 delivers advanced features including 1080p high definition (HD) video recording at 30 frames per second, an integrated scaler, and 2 x 2 binning functionality with re-sampling filter. The scaler enables electronic image stabilization, while maintaining full field of view in 720p and 1080p HD video modes, and allows for HD video with digital video zoom functionality. The OV5690's post-binning re-sampling filter minimizes spatial artifacts and removes image artifacts around edges, producing clean, crisp color images for 720p/60 HD video in binning mode.

The sensor features a standard 2-lane (1 Gbps/lane) MIPI/LVDS interface, and fits into the industry standard 8.5 x 8.5 mm module size with a z-height below 5 mm, or approximately 20 percent lower than existing industry-leading 1/3.2-inch 5-megapixel image sensors.

The OV5690 is currently being sampled by key customers and mass production is expected to begin in the second half of 2011.