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Date: 13-08-14

Less power consuming 8M image sensor for smartphones

Toshiba launched new T4KA3 8-megapixel (MP) sensor for midrange smartphones, tablets and action cameras with 720p resolution supporting HD video capture at 240 equivalent frames per second (fps).

T4KA3 consumes 15 percent lower power and also lesser area than Toshiba's prior 8MP sensor, making it one of the world's smallest chips at this pixel count and enabling the development of a smaller camera module, claimed by Toshiba. This sensor also uses Toshiba Bright Mode technology to boost image brightness by up to 4x, which enables users to continuously record and smoothly play back video on their handheld devices at an fps rate twice that achievable without Bright Mode.

"In emerging markets, the camera is the most prioritized feature for smartphone owners. The T4KA3 was created to meet this demand, while aiding designers in continuing to develop slimmer products that consume less power," said Andrew Burt, vice president of the Image Sensor Business Unit, System LSI Group at TAEC. "Customers in every global region continue to demand high-quality image and video capture and playback, and Toshiba's 1.12-micron CIS lineup is designed to hit the sweet spot for a full range of high-volume handheld mobile products."

To achieve high quality image capture, T4KA3 takes multiple pictures at different exposure levels and intelligently stitches them together. Toshiba's alternate-row, dual-exposure HDR also reduces motion artifacts and eliminates frame buffer requirements without compromising frame resolution or speed.

Optical format of the T4KA3 is 1/4 inch, and pixel count is 3280 (H) x 2464 (V). The sensor has 8Kbit one-time-programmable (OTP) memory for automatically storing two settings of lens shading correction data, and the setting can quickly changed with a single command to accommodate changing light conditions.

The first product in the series, the 13MP T4K82, was announced earlier this year. It also features both Bright Mode and HDR technology, and enables 240 fps HD video capture for higher-end mobile devices with 1080p resolution.

Sample shipments of the T4KA3 CMOS image sensor are under way, with samples priced at just under US$12 (1,200 Yen). Mass production is scheduled to begin in April 2015.

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