OmniVision announces new 8MP smartphone camera sensor

OmniVision, a supplier of camera modules for Apple’s iOS devices, has announced its new OV8850 eight-megapixel sensor suitable for use in a future iPhone or similar device. The new sensor is said to enable modules that are 20 percent slimmer than any 8-megapixel module in commercial use today, and offers “a 20 percent improvement in peak quantum efficiency in all color channels, a 35 percent improvement in low-light sensitivity and a 45 percent increase in full-well capacity in an extremely compact and power efficient package,” according to OmniVision product manager Per Rosdahl.

The new sensor also offers an on-chip temperature sensor, alternate row exposure for HDR capabilities, and full field of view 1080p video recording. Notably, the sensor fits in an 8.5mm x 8.5mm autofocus module with a build height of 4.7mm; the module inside the iPhone 4 is 6.5mm, as noted by Mac Rumors.

OmniVision says the new sensor will begin sampling in August and is expected to go into mass production in the first calendar quarter of 2012, making it highly unlikely that it will appear in the next-generation iPhone, despite prior reports indicating that it will feature an eight-megapixel camera.