The rapid growth of mobile camera phones and other mobile imaging devices has created a wide variety of different solutions in the market. A lack of standards means that companies have used their own definitions for camera modules, starting from electrical interfaces, to customized mechanics and shielding. The special needs have been driven by the demanding mobile environment;
The resolution of cameras in mobile application is increasing rapidly and electrical interfaces must be capable of high data rates.
The camera must be small in size and may be flex mounted. Therefore a low pin count in desirable.
High volume mobile application favour second sourcable components with a standardized electrical and mechanical interfaces
Second sourcing requires that camera modules also have similar optical performance. A common way of measuring performance is needed to truly compare different products.
Rapid consumer markets for mobile product require a fast design and industrialization cycle. The use of free licensing standards speeds up both the component design cycle and the design-in process at the end user.
SMIA (Standard Mobile Imaging Architecture) is an imaging architecture especially suitable for mobile application use. The scope of SMIA covers a raw bayer output image sensor head: It specifies housing, mechanical interconnection, functionality, register set and electrical interface.
About 18 months ago Nokia Corporation and ST Microelectronics started together a Mobile imaging standardization project called SMIA. End of 2003 two other major players of mobile business gave also their contribution by commenting draft SMIA specification. The reason for that was very clear: Nokia and ST wanted to be sure that specification is easily usable for all players in the mobile imaging business.