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Kodak develops new 5MP image sensor for cellphone use

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Kodak today announced their new 5MP CMOS image sensor KAC-05020 for cell phone use. According to Kodak, it is the world's first 1.4 micron 5MP sensor that is capable of high-quality images, stating "Camera phones and other small-pixel consumer imaging devices often suffer from poor performance, especially under low light conditions... By completely rethinking the design of the CMOS pixel and leveraging our work with high sensitivity color filter patterns and algorithms, Kodak was able to develop this remarkable new sensor that will enable a level of imaging performance previously unavailable from CMOS devices."

This is accomplished by Kodak's new TRUESENSE CMOS pixel, where the underlying "polarity" of the silicon is reversed, so that the absence of electrons is used to detect a signal. This change enabled a series of improvements to the design and structure of the pixel that ultimately results in CMOS imaging performance that rivals that available from CCD image sensors.

Additionally, the new Color Filter Pattern adds "clear" pixels to the red, green, and blue pixels on the CMOS sensor, which allows for 2-4x more light sensitivity.

The new KAC-05020 not only allows for 5MP still-images, but videos can be recorded at 720p resolution and at 30fps. This is a significant improvement over current phones, with most supporting only QVGA (320x240) resolution. Despite the advances that Kodak has made, don't plan on seeing it incorporated into a phone this year.

The product will first be on display at the Mobile World Congress held Feb 11 - 14 in Barcelona, Spain; and then with
sample units available to phone manufactures in Q2. However, Kodak believes that it will not be until early 2009 until the consumer sees their product fully integrated into a phone and is available for purchase.

Maybe we will see some units at CTIA Fall 2008 or next year at CES 2009? One can only hope.

source: Kodak via Reuters

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