Eastman Kodak Company announced new image sensors for mass-market products such as camera phones and digital still cameras.
The company also announced important new alliances that will extend its reach in the market for image sensors. The company announced availability of the first CMOS image sensor (CIS) devices to arise from its manufacturing alliance with IBM, as well as development of a reference design that incorporates these new image sensors with multimedia processors from Texas Instruments Incorporated. Kodak also announced an agreement to license key CIS manufacturing technologies to TSMC.
The eye of a Digital Camera
A critical component in any digital imaging device, image sensors act as the "eye" of a digital camera by converting light into electric charges to begin the digital capture process. "We are very excited that our manufacturing alliance with IBM is now yielding its first products, and that we now are expanding our participation in this industry through new alliances with other leaders, such as TI and TSMC, said Mary Jane Hellyar, President, Display & Components, and Senior Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company.
Kodak Pixelux technology
Kodak's new three- and five- megapixel CIS devices -- the Kodak KAC-3100 and KAC-5000 Image Sensors - are targeted to camera phone and consumer DSC and DVC applications. Both sensors incorporate Kodak Pixelux technology, a proprietary design that offers manufacturers of consumer digital imaging devices improved image quality, higher performance, and more features than other CMOS-based image sensors on the market. The new products are manufactured at IBM's Burlington, VT, plant as part of the manufacturing collaboration announced last year between Kodak and IBM.
Today's news demonstrates Kodak's continued progress as a leading mass-market supplier of next-generation CIS devices that offer the image quality currently available from mainstream CCD sensors, while leveraging the power, integration, and cost benefits traditionally associated with CMOS technology. CIS devices currently on the market often fall short of the image quality consumers have come to expect from digital products based on traditional CCD image sensors. Pixelux technology permits the manufacture of CIS pixels that approach the size of the smallest CCD pixels offered today, while providing lower noise and improved photosensitivity for use under low light conditions.
Next-generation mobile imaging devices
To help facilitate the design of next-generation mobile imaging devices, Kodak has worked with Texas Instruments to develop a reference design that incorporates these new image sensors with OMAP 2 application processors from TI, a platform which delivers a foundation for mobile device manufacturers to provide the latest in mobile entertainment, productivity, and imaging applications on "All-in-One" mobile entertainment devices. This combination will allow manufacturers to leverage TI's high-performance, power-efficient OMAP 2 platform with Kodak's leading pixel technology to bring new multimedia-rich devices to market.
Agreement with TSMC
Kodak also announced an agreement with TSMC that licenses key Kodak technologies used in the manufacture of high-quality CIS devices. Under the agreement, TSMC will be licensed to manufacture CIS devices using a variety of Kodak manufacturing technologies that are fundamental to improving image quality, performance and resolution. The manufacturing process licensed under this agreement will be utilized by Kodak as well as other sensor design firms under the terms of the agreement. Other terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.
Kodak line of image sensors
The Kodak KAC-3100 and KAC-5000 are the latest addition to Kodak's extensive and growing line of image sensors, delivering the core technology that drives the most advanced developments in digital imaging applications. Kodak develops, manufactures, and markets both CCD and CMOS image sensors for applications ranging from satellite and medical imaging applications to digital cameras and machine vision products.