STMicroelectronics today announced a new 2-megapixel camera subsystem intended for the high-volume mainstream camera-phone market. The new VS6724 is the latest in ST's camera-on-chip family, joining the successful 1.3-megapixel VS6624 and VGA-resolution VS6524 modules. It combines a high-quality multi- element lens with a 1/4-inch CMOS sensor and on-chip processing, in a tiny industry-standard package, to deliver superb UXGA-resolution (1600 x 1200 pixels) images.
ST addresses the varied demands of the competitive camera-phone market with a range of package and mechanical options. The VS6724 is available in super-low-profile 8 x 8 x 4.5mm and in high-performance 8 x 8 x 5.5mm SmOP2 packages, with both flex-cable attach and socket options for maximum design-in flexibility, the latter being compatible with industry-standard sockets. The camera has already been integrated successfully with major mobile phone platforms to minimize time-to-market for ST's customers.
The camera delivers best-in-class, 30 frames per second UXGA-resolution output, for fast image capture, using an on-chip hardware M-JPEG (Motion - Joint Photographic Experts Group) encoder, or 15 fps YUV (Luminance-Bandwidth- Chrominance) output with no compression, through a fully-featured ISP (Image Signal Processing) pipeline. A flexible image scaling capability also provides an output for lower resolution displays; other features include image pan & tilt mode, and special effects such as sepia, negative and black & white. A highly configurable internal register set, with I2C interface, enables full customization of device behavior.
A video output stream to the ITU-R BT.656-4 standard, YUV (YCbCr) 4:2:2 with embedded sync, is provided, and an 8-bit parallel video interface with external horizontal and vertical synchronization signals. Output video formats are YUV 4:2:2, RGB (444 and 565), and M-JPEG.
"The stunning images from this new camera module are the result of innovation both in high-quality, Imager-on-Chip CMOS technology, and in high- volume, optical package design and manufacture," said Jean-Yves Gomez, General Manager of ST's Imaging Division. "By controlling every phase in the design and manufacturing processes -- something that's unique in this market -- ST can deliver excellent image quality in an easy-to-use product at a highly competitive price."
In addition to its primary application in camera phones, the low-cost and industry-standard electrical interfaces and mechanical design make the VS6724 attractive for PDAs, gaming platforms, video conferencing and security cameras. Standby power consumption is ultra-low, and the device includes an on-board PLL (Phase Locked Loop) to support a wide range of input clock frequencies. The digital I/O can be powered from either 1.8V or 2.8V supplies.
The VS6724 is based on ST's proprietary CMOS sensor technology and will be manufactured at the company's leading-edge facilities in France, initially at Crolles and later on, also at Rousset. Samples of the VS6724 are available now, with volume production planned during the first quarter of 2007. Simple modules -- not including socket or flex attach - are priced between $12.00 and $7.80 for volumes between 10,000 and 1 million pieces, respectively.