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Toshiba Unveils 20-Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor for High-End Smartphones and Mobile Handsets

15th September 2014

Sensor enables high-megapixel camera modules in ultra-thin mobile devices 

Toshiba Unveils 20-Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor for High-End Smartphones and Mobile Handsets

Toshiba Electronics Europe (TEE) has announced a new 20-megapixel (MP) 1.12-micron CMOS image sensor (CIS) for high-end mobile handsets and smartphones with 1080p resolution. With an optical height of 1/2.4 inch, the T4KA7 sensor enables the development of camera modules with a z-height of 6mm or less to meet consumer demand for ultrathin and ultralight mobile devices.

The new sensor joins Toshiba’s recently announced 8MP and 13MP 1.12-micron back-side illuminated CIS devices, which enable low-power, high-performance image capture and video recording. The T4KA7 employs high-speed circuit technology that delivers a frame rate of 22 frames per second (fps) at full-resolution image capture – an improvement of 83 percent compared to Toshiba’s previous 20MP sensor.

According to market research firm Yole Développement[1], the CMOS image sensor market will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent between 2013 and 2018, with the total CIS market set to reach US$13 billion by 2018. Drivers include not only mobile technologies (as the industry shifts further toward use of CMOS in place of CCD image sensors), but also automotive, industrial and medical imaging applications, as well as wearable electronics.

The T4KA7 features a pixel count of 5384 (H) x 3752 (V). The 20MP back-side illuminated sensor’s advanced digital zoom capability delivers virtually no discernible image deterioration, even when zooming in very close on the subject being photographed with an advanced tablet or smartphone. Other features include auto-defect pixel correction and 16Kbit one-time programmable (OTP) memory, enabling tight integration of high-density permanent memory without increasing the real estate on the sensor chip.

The first product in the Toshiba 1.12-micron CIS series, the 13MP T4K82, was announced earlier this year. It enables 240 fps HD video capture for higher-end mobile devices with 1080p resolution. Rolled out last month, the 8MP T4KA3 targets midrange smartphones, tablets and action cameras with 720p resolution, enabling HD video capture at an industry-high[2] rate of 240 equivalent frames per second (fps). Both sensors feature Bright Mode and High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology.


[1] Status of the CMOS Image Sensors Industry Report, Yole Développement, Jan. 21, 2014.

[2] Research by Toshiba as of August 2014.

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