NEC Chip to Bring 12Mpixel Camera, HD Video to Handsets

Feb 6, 2009
Megumi Yoshizawa, Nikkei Microdevices
The CE143 system LSI for camera-equipped mobile phones
The CE143 system LSI for camera-equipped mobile phones
[Click to enlarge image]

NEC Electronics Corp developed a system LSI that it claims will bring a high picture quality comparable with that of digital still cameras to camera-equipped mobile phones.

The company will start shipping samples under the product name of "CE143" in March 2009.

The CE143 has basic image processing functions and, with a combination of a CMOS image sensor, can add camera functionality to a mobile phone. In addition, it integrates an image stabilizer, shading correction and other functions, according to NEC Electronics.

The LSI can realize mobile phones that can take photos at a resolution of up to 12 Mpixels and output full-HD video.

Because the CE143 has a circuit for detecting faces during focusing, the time required for the detection is reduced to 1/25 that of the company's existing product. In addition, the LSI incorporates NEC's proprietary single-frame super resolution technology, which was developed to reduce image blur and degradation during digital zooming, as an IP core.

Furthermore, the noise reduction circuit was modified to improve the S/N ratio by more than 6dB compared with the existing product.

NEC Electronics collaborated with software partners to strengthen its technical support for image tuning by device manufacturers. Provided with not just the LSI but also utilization technologies including support for the system development, phonecam manufacturers are able to reduce the development period, etc, said NEC Electronics.

The application software developed for the CE Series, the company's existing product line, can be used for the new LSI to control the camera function of a mobile phones.

The core supply voltage is +1.2V and the I/O supply voltage is +1.8/2.7/2.85V. The CE143 is equipped with a 512-Mbit mobile DDR memory and an 8-Mbit flash memory. It is packaged in a plastic FBGA. Samples are available at ¥4,000 (approx US$44) per piece. NEC Electronics plans to start mass-production from April 2009 with a monthly output of one million pieces.

The company will exhibit the new system LSI at Mobile World Congress 2009 in Barcelona, Spain from Feb 16 to 19, 2009.