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Toshiba Launches 16MP CMOS Image Sensors Targeting Smartphones and Tablets

August 5, 2015

New low-power sensors feature PDAF technology, supports 30fps output at 4K resolution

SAN JOSE, Calif., – Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC)*, a committed leader that collaborates with technology companies to create breakthrough designs, today launched its first 16-megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensors: T4KC3 and T4KC3-121, which includes phase detection auto-focus (PDAF). Designed for use in smartphones and tablets, the backside-illuminated (BSI) chips are among the world’s smallest class of CMOS image sensors1, and achieve both high-performance image capture and low power consumption.

The functional range of the new sensors supports users in capturing beautiful images and movies. The T4KC3-121 is the first Toshiba sensor to feature PDAF technology, which makes it easier for mobile devices to capture both still and moving objects. This approach to AF technology, also used in single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, takes an incoming image and splits it between two pixels, allowing the camera to figure out exactly how out-of-focus a subject is, and then immediately hone in and track movement.

“Mobile device manufacturers are constantly striving to design and build the most powerful, power-efficient devices in the smallest possible form factors,” said Andrew Burt, vice president of the Image Sensor Business Unit, System LSI Group at TAEC. “To support this objective, both new 16MP CMOS sensors are housed in a small module (both area and height) and use Toshiba’s new low-power circuit design method to lengthen battery life when the smartphone or tablet is being used in video mode.”

Image brightness in both new sensors is boosted by up to 4x by Toshiba’s Bright Mode technology, which enables HD video capture at 240fps equivalent. They also support high dynamic range (HDR) to capture natural images of scenes with a high contrast ratio, ending the problem of over- and underexposed images.

The T4KC3 and T4KC3-121 achieve output speeds of up to 30fps at full 16MP-resolution (4624 x 3472pixels) with power consumption figures of just 240mW or lower. Full-HD outputs of 1920 x 1080 pixels are supported at frame rates of up to 60fps, and HD outputs (1280 x 720 pixels) are supported at 120fps in normal mode and 240fps in Bright Mode.

The new sensors have an optical size of 1/2.78 inch and pixel pitch of 1.12 micrometer BSI. Additionally, they incorporate16Kbit one time programmable memory that can store lens shading correction data for four conditions at maximum, such as indoors and outdoors, daylight and sunset. Settings can be switched by one simple command.


Samples of the T4KC3 CMOS image sensor are available now, and sample shipments of the T4KC3-121 will start in mid-August. Mass production of both is set to begin in December.

*About TAEC

Through proven commitment, lasting relationships and advanced, reliable electronic components, Toshiba enables its customers to create market-leading designs. Toshiba is the heartbeat within product breakthroughs from OEMs, ODMs, CMs, VARs, distributors and fabless chip companies worldwide.  A committed electronic components leader, Toshiba designs and manufactures high-quality flash memory-based storage solutions, solid state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs), solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs), discrete devices, custom SoCs/ASICs, imaging products, microcontrollers, wireless components, mobile peripheral devices, advanced materials and medical tubes that make possible today’s leading smartphones, tablets, cameras, medical devices, automotive electronics, industrial applications, enterprise solutions and more.

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. is an independent operating company owned by Toshiba America, Inc., a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, Japan’s largest semiconductor manufacturer and the world’s sixth largest semiconductor manufacturer (Gartner, 2014 Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue Estimates, December 2014). Founded in Tokyo in 1875, Toshiba is at the heart of a global network of over 590 consolidated companies employing over 200,000 people worldwide. Visit Toshiba's web site at

1Toshiba survey, as of July 2015.


Information in this press release, including product pricing and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current and believed to be accurate on the date of the announcement, but is subject to change without prior notice. Technical and application information contained here is subject to the most recent applicable Toshiba product specifications.

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