OmniVision, the firm that’s responsible for making the camera sensor inside Apple’s iPhone, have announced the OV8830, a brand spanking new 8 megapixel imaging sensor that’s the first to use the second generation of OmniVision’s backside illumination (BSI) technology. Since the OV8830 is 1/3.2 inches in size, the pixels are each 1.1 microns small. It’s been impossible to shove BSI into pixels that tiny, but that’s all changed. With OmniBSI-2, terrible name, we know, image sensors are built on 300 mm copper wafers at a 65 nanometer process node. The technology is supposed to give image sensors a 20% improvement in peak quantum efficiency in all color channels, a 35% improvement in low-light sensitivity, and a 45% increase in full-well capacity. In other words, better photos of your mates in the pub and more life like color reproduction so your pictures don’t look like they were obviously taken with a mobile phone.
“The OV8830 sets a new performance standard in the popular 8-megapixel camera segment of the highly video-centric smart phone market,” said Vinoo Margasahayam, Product Marketing Manager for OmniVision. “OmniBSI-2 technology allows us to offer an 8-megapixel sensor with best-in-class sensitivity and image quality, optimized power consumption and advanced features in a small footprint – qualities that we believe make it ideal for the next generation of smart phones.”
This is probably going to end up in the iPhone 5, due to be announce at some point this summer. OmniVision already makes the sensor inside the iPhone 4 and it too is 1/3.2 inches in size so all Apple has to do it drop it in and it should work. The OV8830 is also capable of capturing full 1080p video at 30 frames per second so if you combine it with something like a dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor, what Apple will most likely call the A5, then you’ve got yourself a full HD camera in your pocket. Dreams? Maybe, but it’s where everyone else in the industry is going.