Toshiba is a name we do not associate with smartphones, but all of that is about to change if they have anything to say about it as they are finally able to announce a new 8 megapixel (MP) CMOS Sensor (seen below) for smartphone usage. Toshiba is actually a "pioneer and world leader" in image sensor technology – both for charged-coupled devices (CCDs) and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors, the heart of the camera phone. Toshiba has a range from VGA up to 13 MP and higher in the developmental stages, used in everything from security/surveillance cameras, automotive uses, and smartphones.
Toshiba claims their CMOS image sensors use a unique pixel design for high quality images with a low signal-to-noise ratio even in low-light conditions…always a struggle for smartphone photography. Based on evaluations, Toshiba believes that CMOS image sensors are superior for better color representation and in low-light conditions.
Toshiba's T4K35, is their new 8MP BSI CMOS image sensor with Color Noise Reduction (CNR) and it is aimed specifically at the smartphone market. It incorporates their latest technology in the following areas:
- High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Color Noise Reduction (CNR)
- Backside Illumination (BSI) technology
- Unique pixel structure development
- Proprietary semiconductor process technology
- Advanced micro lens and color filter technology
- Proprietary image pipeline technology
Toshiba has long known that sensors for smartphones is the wave of the future, and has been developing a Backside Illuminated Sensor (BSI) CMOS sensor that can be used in a normal DSLR device as well as in the smartphone environment, but, of course, everything must be shrunken down to fit in the device.
While it maybe a tedious process, it is one that will pay off for Toshiba and other manufacturers as the market is expected to grow at a rapid rate. Years ago, "photographers" were few and far between until the cheaper point-and-shoot camera market started to grow, but even then it was a slower and more steady growth. However, with the introduction of the camera phone and now the smartphone – everybody is into "photography," as they share their pictures on the social media sites, such as Facebook and Google+.
This sensor was announced alongside their T4K37, a 13MP sensor, back in November 2012, and production was expected to start around July 2013, but Toshiba said it will begin mass production of the T4K35 sensor November 15th.