IRVINE, Calif, -- Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. here today announced a new Toshiba CMOS image sensor targeted at the demand for cell phones and other portable devices with built-in cameras.
Available in both color and black-and-white versions, the sensor incorporates an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter and achieves the industry's lowest power consumption in this class of device, the company claimed. Along with the CMOS image sensor, Toshiba is also introducing acompanion digital signal processor (DSP), allowing simple construction of a color digital camera system.
Toshiba intends the CMOS sensor to replace charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors in these systems.
Integration of the A/D converter and CMOS sensor into a single chip halves the package size and cuts power consumption to 60 mW -- only one-third that of a CCD camera system with external A/D converter, Toshiba said.
Toshiba's new sensor offers the highest level of performance in the 330,000-pixel class of device, including support for 10-bit digital output and a signal-to-noise ratio of 57 dB. This high level of contrast and reduced noise produces a higher quality picture fully compatible with the Video Graphics Array (VGA) standard for video-conferencing.
"Growing demand for personal mobile products incorporating digital cameras, such as PDAs, ultra-compact cameras, toys with built-in cameras and a new generation of videophones, is creating a growing market for small, high-performance image sensors," said Lee Estrada, market development directorfor TAEC's Digital Consumer Business Unit.
Toshiba's breakthrough was in achieving CMOS pixel cells small enough for application in commercial products. The company's pixel-cell circuit structure shrinks cell size and achieve new levels of integration by incorporating such basic elements as photodiodes
and transistors into a 5.6-µ2 cell. In performance, the sensor is
fully VGA-compatible, meeting the format's specification for a 640-by 480-pixel frame with an effective pixel count of approximately 330,000.
The new sensor also incorporates a signal generator, and black and white versions of the sensor require no peripheral devices to configure a digital camera system. This is expected to provide a highly cost-effective solution for camera applications.
Samples of the TCM5033T color and TCM5030T black-and-white sensors will be available April 1, priced at $33 and $28 each, respectively, and sample chip sets including the color image sensor and the TC90A70F DSP are priced at $43 each. Commercial quantities will be available in June, with production capacity of 100,000 units per month.