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NEC To Bring 12 Mpx photos & Full HD Video to Handsets

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 00:00

Written by Apocalypso.

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necFew months back I made my feelings about 12 megapixel camera modules for mobile device abundantly clear, and as I said then, we should not treat these tiny little 12 MPX sensor chips for mobile devices as the revolutionary change in chip technology nor should we take mega pixels as a measure of camera performance as many hail them to be.

Generally speaking, the mobile technology progress gives consumers what they expect and the main problem is that leading manufacturers know it will be hard to sell a five or six megapixel camera when their competitor's shiny and tinny phone is equipped with 8, 10 or even 12 MP for not much more money!

Average mobile phone users don't know much about the accuracy and quickness of the camera's autofocus, neither about lens quality or sensor sensitivity, but I guess that most of you will agree with me that most of them can do basic megapixel arithmetic real well and that’s the main problem and main reason why phone makers continue to squeeze ever more megapixels into their mobile devices!

Typical consumer believes that more is better but it is nothing than the big fat lie. First of all by increasing the pixel amount while the sensor size remains pretty much the same makes the pixels on mobilephones sensors smaller and less sensitivity which increase photo noise and leads to bad performance in dim conditions, and the loss of finer tonal gradations.

To be honest with you I am not expecting an end to the megapixel race after tpublishing this article, megapixels will always be important, but here on Symbian Freak we’ll continue with educating and repeating that high quality lenses, image stabilization technologies and additional features such as face detection are at least as important as pixel counts when we are talking about image quality!

Anyway, as you may have laready read somwhere, NEC Electronics has introduced new SoC product that enables camera-equipped mobile phones to provide clear and high-quality images comparable to digital still cameras (DSCs).

The new product offers mobile phones to output Full-HD (1080p) video stream and still image data up to 12 Megapixels retrieved by the CMOS sensor. In addition, CE143 also incorporates proven, state-of-the-art image stabilizing and optical compensation technologies that can be found in the high-end DSCs to produce crystal-clear, well-balanced digital photos.

The market for mobile phone equipped with high-end camera has been growing rapidly around the world, from approximately 20.1 million in 2007 increasing at an annual rate of 77% to approximately 249 million in 2011. In addition, the demand for higher resolution, camera-equipped mobile phones has also been expanding. Mobile phones with camera of higher than 5 megapixels are expected to occupy 40% of the market by 2011.

In 2007, NEC Electronics commercialized CE131, which enabled the 8-Megapixel mobile phone segment with accumulated shipment exceeding 15 million units. To continue the success of CE131, CE143 pushes the envelope of providing supreme picture quality, performance, and functions for still images and video data.

Main features of CE143 are as follows:

(1) Industry-leading level of 12 megapixels still image and Full HD video functions: Utilizing know-how and experience accumulated through development for DSCs, CE143 integrates improved light signal convertor, image stabilizer, and optical compensation circuit. With the capability of processing 12-Megapixel image and supporting Full HD video, CE143 enables mobile phone developers to design products that can reproduce photos and videos with unmatched quality. The new product also integrates face detection circuits that can determine human faces at a 1/25 of the time compared to the previous product.

(2) Integration of single-frame super-resolution technology: CE143 implements NEC Electronics' proprietary single-frame super-resolution core that reduces the graininess during the magnification process of digital zooming. This enables mobile phone camera to take clear close-up pictures and videos without optical zoom components attached.

(3) Superior technical support and rich image tuning experience: NEC Electronics collaborates with partners to share know-how on technical supports such as image tuning. Therefore, the new product provides total solution to camera-equipped mobile phone manufacturers, enabling them to take leadership for designing high-end mobile phones in a short period of time.

(4) Further improved noise-reduction function: In order to meet customers' demands for higher image quality, CE143 offers improved noise-reduction functions, which further reduces the image noise resulting from other components of the camera in the mobile phone. As a result, the new product can improve S/N (Note) of more than 6dB compared to the previous product. This noise-reduction feature minimizes distortion caused by lenses and sensor while taking still images and video images.

(5) Backward Software Compatibility: Users of the previous generation of the Camera Engine series can maintain backward compatibility with the software that activates the camera features. This enables a smooth transition for the existing customers to reach a new height in camera performance and functionalities in mobile phones. In addition, mobile phone designers can also offer a wider range of camera features with minimal investment for software development.

NEC Electronics believes the new product to be a new milestone for the company to become a leader in offering advanced ISP. CE143 also enables mobile phone manufacturers to expand their product coverage beyond traditional mobile phone market.


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