Mobile phones replacing cameras -Samsung MOBILEization
March 23, 2011 - San Jose, CA - The annual Samsung System LSI group was once again focused on the mobile marketplace. The event featured discussion of the foundry services group and the roadmap for manufacturing technology down through the 14nm/13nm process node. Additional discussions were on the impact of mobile devices on display, memory, server, and storage (HDD, SSD and ODD) devices.
A major area of the discussion was on the imaging electronics being used for digital cameras. The discussion was based on two trends - the first is the increase in pixel count and resolution of the imagers, and the second is the migration of image capture to new devices. Traditional photography was a planned event that required a film based camera, with appropriate types of film and lighting. These cameras gave was to two types of devices - the Digital Still Camera (DSC) and the Digital Video Camera (DVC).
The still cameras were higher resolution, had more complex lens solutions, and featured full Digital SLR technology for full photographic capabilities. These cameras were still used in a planned mode (you need to take them with you as an extra item) and slowly have adopted point & shoot (P&S) features in addition to the “photo artist” mode. The transition to P&S took place about the 5MP resolution point. These cameras were still based on shoot in one place, then go back home, download and print the images as a flow.
The small light cameras (originally designed as P&S ONLY) came in as a replacement for Polaroid (instant view) types of cameras. These new digital cameras had lower resolution and smaller file sizes, but would display instantly on the cameras. These images were typically not printed, but were made available for emailing to others. These cameras were targeted at the photo capture of “opportunity: rather than planning.
These same use and resolutions trends took place for the DVC side, where the resolution went from sub VGA through 1080p as a dedication function. These files were also displayed at home.
As resolutions have increased (5MP to 8-12MP) and processing power in mobile devices have also increased, there is a trend away from the single function cameras. The new superphones feature high resolutions cameras that can be used for both still and video capture. These devices both store the images on removable media (flash memory) and also, by utilizing the connectivity of the phone, can upload the images and video to cloud based services such as social networking accounts.
Samsung has created a new Mobile Digital Camera Initiative that is developing new processing chips, new lens and focus systems and increased resolutions imagers for the new superphone market. The demand for image capture for opportunity, and the realization that most of the users of these DVC and DSCs already have a mobile device (superphone or tablet) with them, makes for a straight forward pairing. The new devices will have up to 16MP of resolution for still images, and support full 1080p 30+ fps video. The unified platform of the mobile superphone/tablet will allow for not only integration of optimized imaging features, but also power optimization for the device chip sets. These solutions can be used in pairs to support any S3D product applications that may arise.