It was reported that Toshiba is gearing up a 20-megapixel image sensor for digital cameras, which is said to be the highest resolution of its kind. According to the company, the new chip can support capturing 30 frames per second at full resolution. It can also shoot videos at 60 frames per second at 1080P or 100 fps at 720P.
The Competition in Digital Photography
Point-and-shoot cameras are steadily dropping in price because of brutal competition among manufacturers, as well as the threat posed by smartphones and other mobile devices. The image resolution of high-quality smartphones now often meets and exceeds that of a digital camera.
For instance, Nokia 808 PureView, which was released earlier this year, has a 41-megapixel image sensor. But although the number of pixels in a camera does not always reflect the overall quality of its image, it is still a key selling factor for consumers.
On the other hand, Toshiba said that they’ve increased the amount of information pixels in the new chip. Thus, it can now store more than its previous generation of CMOS or complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor, which could result to better overall images.
CMOS is a sensor that contains rows of electronic pixels that can convert light into digital signals. It also features on-chip processing technology, which can enhance images or speed transfers.
Aside from that, the new chip reduces the size of pixels. In fact, its 20-megapixel version has individual pixel that measures 1.2 micrometers—a decrease from 1.34 micrometers that can be found on 16-megapixel products.
Mass Production Ahead!
Toshiba said that they will start shipping samples of the CMOS this January 2013, while mass production of 300,000 units per month will begin in August. The Japanese firm is best known for components for its NAND flash, which they developed with the help of SanDisk.
Moreover, the company’s goal is to garner a 30-percent market share in CMOS sensors for digital camera before the fiscal ends in March 2016.
Toshiba’s Lytro-like Camera for Smartphones
In other news, Toshiba is also set to release a Lytro-like camera for smartphones next year. Based on the report of Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, this technology lets users choose what part of the photo they would like to focus on well after taking the shot.
It will also enable users to put the entire picture into focus. This type of technology is mostly seen on Lytro cameras, and is yet to be used in smartphones or tablets.