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ST mobile-camera chipset complies with SMIA

Posted: 26 Nov 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share


Nearly 159 million camera phones will be sold in 2004, according to Gartner Inc. Sales from this market will continue to rise by 2008, over two-thirds of the handsets sold each year will have a built-in camera.

Thus, it is only logical that many component manufacturers for both digital and mobile phone cameras will grab this opportunity by its horns.

One such company is STMicroelectronics (ST). Recently, the company disclosed that they have developed the first Megapixel mobile-camera chipset, compliant with the Standard Mobile Imaging Architecture (SMIA), which was released by ST and Nokia last July.

The new mobile-camera kit consists of the VS6650 camera module and the STV0976 mobile imaging processor, the first members of ST's family of SMIA-compliant sensors and processors to be rolled out in the coming months.

The VS6650 is a high-performance, low-power 1Mpixel (1,152 x 864) camera module, capable of streaming full-resolution images at 30 fps. The physical layer specification of SMIA facilitates its straightforward integration into a mobile device: a high-speed serial video interface at up to 650Mbps, engineered to minimize electro-magnetic interference, enables camera placement even close to radio areas, while low pin count and embedded power and clock management comply with mobile-phone design constraints, the press release said.

The STV0976 processor with built-in in-real-time JPEG compression can handle full-resolution images up to 15 fps at 1Mpixel. Using the company's image reconstruction techniques, the processor provides power-efficient defect correction, lens-distortion compensation and sharpness enhancement.

As a cost-effective resolution upgrade to current VGA systems, ST has also released the VS6590, a 480k-pixel SuperVGA (800 x 600) camera module. Together with the STV0976, the VS6590 delivers 30fps SuperVGA JPEG streams to the phone host processor. Without the companion processor, the module is also suitable for entry-level multimedia phones able to handle 480k-pixel software processing.

Both the VS6650 and VS6590 camera modules are manufactured in a fully automated test and focus process, using the company's SmOP II (Small Optical module) technology, which enables high volume and low production costs. The VS6650 comes in the SMIA95 standard package (9.5-by-9.5-by-7.6mm), equipped with an EMC (Electro-Magnetic Compatibility) shield.

The STV0976 processor accepts SMIA class 0 sensors (up to 208Mbps), including the VS6650. It provides an SMIA class 0 output, as well as an ITU-R 656-compliant output for legacy applications. The STV0976, housed in a small TFBGA-56 6-by-6mm package, requires a single 1.8V supply and features a 60?W-standby power consumption.

Designed for use in camera mobile phones, PDAs and other portable terminals, the first Megapixel SMIA-compliant chipset from ST is currently available in engineering samples and will be supported by demonstration kits from early November 2004. Volume production is scheduled for March 2005 for the 1Mpixel kit (STV0976 and VS6650 chipset) and January 2005 for the SuperVGA version (STV0976 and VS6590). Pricing has been set at $16 for the 1Mixel kit and $13 for the SuperVGA version.

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