Omnivision launches teeny camera sensor

Californian digital imaging outfit, OmniVision has outed what could well be the camera unit used in the forthcoming iPhone 5.

Rumours that the Apple gadget would come with an eight-megapixel snapper in its next incarnation have been flying around for so long now that the conjecture has almost become fact. And OmniVision's latest teeny snapper certainly seems to fit the fill for the Cupertino company's fifth foray into the smartphone market.

The eight-megapixel OV8850 camera chip uses 1.1-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel architecture to cram all the good stuff into a 8.5mm x 8.5mm x 4.7mm space, which is about 20 per cent slimmer than any comparable autofocus module on the market.

The company also reckons that, as well as miniaturising its pixels from the previous 1.4 micron architecture, it has delivered a 20 per cent improvement in peak quantum efficiency in all colour channels, a 35 percent improvement in low-light sensitivity and a 45 percent increase in full-well capacity. Which sounds nice.

The company says it will start sampling production in August with mass production to OEMs starting in the first quarter of 2012, but we have a sneaking suspicion that the first consignment might be heading in Apple's direction.

It wouldn't be the first time Apple got the jump on the rest of the industry with an exclusive deal for upcoming technology. Anyone remember when it was first out of the gate with Intel's Nehalem quad-core processors?