OmniVision's High-End Webcam Chip Sees In Ultra-Low Light

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News Posted: Mon, Aug 16 2010 5:30 PM
Some areas of technology improve rather rapidly. There is intense competition in the CPU and GPU space, so those products generally improve many times over the course of a year. But some lesser things, like webcams, don't improve nearly as quickly. Particularly webcams that are built into the bezels of notebooks. But that means that some companies are out to change the tide, like OmniVision.

The company has just introduced the OV7727, which is a high-end VGA sensor for the ultra-thin notebook market. It's the first VGA sensor to be built with OmniBSI backside illumination technology, which greatly improves image quality in low light. And oftentimes, notebook webcams are used in boardrooms, etc. where low light is the norm.

The OV7727 comes with a full array of high end image processing functions, including automatic exposure control, gamma correction, automatic white balance control, and defect pixel correction, which are all programmable through the serial camera control bus interface. It's available to laptop makers now, and should enter mass production in September. Now, when can we expect full HD webcams to come standard on netbooks?

OmniVision Launches High-End VGA Camera for Next Generation Ultra-Thin Notebooks
 
World's First VGA Sensor to Implement BSI Technology

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVTI), a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, today introduced the OV7727, a top-of-the-line VGA sensor for the high-end ultra-thin notebook market. The 1/13-inch OV7727 is the first VGA sensor built with OmniBSI™ backside illumination technology. It combines extremely strong performance and sensitivity with an ultra-compact form factor, enabling camera integration with sub-2 mm liquid crystal displays (LCDs) for next generation notebooks, netbooks and tablet computers.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/SF49615)

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100816/SF49615)

Using a 1.75-micron OmniBSI pixel, the OV7727 delivers video conference-quality low-light performance of 1300 mV/lux-sec, while also enabling complete camera modules with Z-height as low as 2.2 mm, ideal for tomorrow's ultra-thin portable devices.

"VGA sensors are generally considered low-end and low-cost, but the OV7727 is quite the opposite in terms of performance. It is a very high-end VGA product, and currently the only sensor on the market that can meet the size, cost and performance requirements of the next generation high-end notebook market," said Nicholas Nam, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision. "We listened to our customers and realized there was real demand for thinner yet better performing notebook cameras to facilitate the continued design shrink in the notebook market. To fill that need we used our most advanced pixel technologies to develop a product that underscores OmniVision's leadership in the digital imaging industry."

The OV7727 offers complete user control over image quality, resolution and output data format. It provides full frame, sub-sampled, windowed or scaled 8-bit/10-bit images in RAW RGB format over a parallel DVP interface or serial MIPI port, offering a versatile platform for use in single and multi-camera applications. A new feature on the OV7727 is a serial peripheral interface, which supports multiple cameras using a single controller, while also offering support to touch screen applications.

The OV7727 comes with a full array of high end image processing functions, including automatic exposure control, gamma correction, automatic white balance control, and defect pixel correction, which are all programmable through the serial camera control bus interface.

The OV7727 is now available for sampling and is expected to enter mass production in September 2010. 
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realneil replied on Wed, Aug 18 2010 8:02 PM

If we do see this integrated in our Net books, what will it do to the usual low cost that we love?

I'm all for it as long as it's not too expensive.

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