Standard Mobile Imaging Architecture

STMicroelectronics Debuts Megapixel Camera Chipset for Mobile Devices

9.11.2004

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a world leader in CMOS image-sensor technology, has introduced the first Megapixel mobile-camera chipset, compliant with the Standard Mobile Imaging Architecture (SMIA), released by ST and Nokia in July 2004. The new state-of-the-art mobile-camera kit consists of the VS6650 Camera Module and the STV0976 Mobile Imaging Processor, the first members of ST´s family of SMIA-compliant sensors and processors to be rolled out in the coming months.

The VS6650 is a high-performance, low-power 1-Megapixel (1152 x 864) camera module, capable of streaming full-resolution images at 30 frames per second (fps). The physical layer specification of SMIA facilitates its straightforward integration into a mobile device: a high-speed serial video interface at up to 650-Mbit/s, engineered to minimize electro-magnetic interference, enables camera placement even close to radio areas, while low pin count and embedded power and clock management comply with mobile-phone design constraints.

The STV0976 processor with built-in in-real-time JPEG compression can handle full-resolution images up to 15 fps at 1-Megapixel. Using ST´s proven world-class image reconstruction techniques, the processor provides power-efficient defect correction, lens-distortion compensation and sharpness enhancement, specifically tailored for perfect picture results with small-sized lens modules.

"Bringing Megapixel capability to the mainstream of mobile phones is a major challenge for our customers today as the lack of standards and narrow choice of architecture keep bill-of-material costs high," said Marc Vasseur, General Manager of ST's Imaging Division. "With our first SMIA-based products, we are proud to bring ST's unique know-how in imaging and the Company's renowned image quality to this market."

As a cost-effective resolution upgrade to current VGA systems, STMicroelectronics has also released the VS6590, a 480k-pixel SuperVGA (800 x 600) camera module, which provides a smooth transition path towards Megapixel solutions and beyond; ST's upcoming SMIA sensors and processors will cover up to 3.2 Megapixels. Together with the STV0976, the VS6590 delivers 30fps SuperVGA JPEG streams to the phone host processor. Without the companion processor, the module is also ideally suited for entry-level multimedia phones able to handle 480k-pixel software processing.

Aimed at lowering the overall cost of the imaging function in mobile devices, SMIA specifications enable a wide range of partitioning choices in the phone. In particular, they allow for either module to be used without the companion processor, a set-up best suited for cost-driven high-volume designs. In line with the SMIA profile 1, the embedded horizontal scaler enables power-efficient realization of the viewfinder function with host software processing. Further information on SMIA can be found at smia-forum.org.

Both VS6650 and VS6590 camera modules are manufactured in a fully automated test and focus process, using ST's advanced SmOP II (Small Optical module) technology, which enables high volume and low production costs. The VS6650 comes in the SMIA95 standard package (9.5 x 9.5 x 7.6 mm), equipped with an EMC (Electro-Magnetic Compatibility) shield. ST expects major component suppliers for the mobile phone market, such as SMK Corporation and Tyco Electronics, to offer a range of SMIA-compliant attachment solutions, and in particular sockets for the SMIA95 module.

The STV0976 processor accepts SMIA profile 0 sensors at data rates up to 208-Mbit/s (CCP2 Class 0), including the VS6650. It provides a SMIA class 0 output, as well as an ITU-R 656-compliant output for legacy applications. The STV0976, housed in a small TFBGA-56 6x6-mm package, requires a single 1.8V supply and features a 60-microwatt-standby power consumption.

Ideal for use in camera mobile phones, PDAs, and other portable terminals, the first Megapixel SMIA-compliant chipset from ST is currently available in engineering samples and will be supported by demonstration kits from early November 2004. Volume production is scheduled for March 2005 for the 1-Megapixel kit (STV0976 and VS6650 chipset) and January 2005 for the SuperVGA version (STV0976 and VS6590). US pricing has been set at 6 for the 1-Megapixel kit and 3 for the SuperVGA version.

Further information about these products can be found at:
VS6590
VS6650
STV0976

Further information about ST's CMOS imaging product range can be found at: CMOS Imaging

Editors' Note
ST is one of the world's largest suppliers of CMOS sensors for mobile phone cameras, a fast-growing industry segment predicted to double by 2006 to 368 million units a year, according to iSuppli Corp., representing a 57% penetration worldwide. Together with Nokia, STMicroelectronics has recently released a comprehensive specification for camera modules (SMIA), aimed at standardizing this increasingly important component in mobile devices at all levels.

About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2003, the Company's net revenues were $7.24 billion and net earnings were 53 million. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.

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