New Kodak camera chip could make camera phones much more useful

Kodak cut its teeth in the world of print photography and film based cameras with a history going back for decades. With the advent of the digital photography revolution, Kodak has been reinventing itself as a player in the digital photography industry rather than a maker of film and film-based cameras.

Kodak leveraged its vast patent library to devise a new camera chip that could make camera phones much more usable. Anyone who has tried to use a camera phone knows that typically the images turn out dark and blurry because the camera portion of most phones is something added on as a secondary function.

Kodak sees its new camera chip as making the camera portion of the phone one of the main features in the future. According to the Associated Press (AP) the new Kodak sensor is the world’s first 1.4 micron, 5 megapixel camera chip.

The AP quotes Fas Mosleh, a marketing director in Kodak’s image sensor business, as saying, “[the new camera chip] is at least doubly sensitive to light than current devices. It produces crisper images even when light conditions are not ideal - such as at a candlelit birthday party - or when shooting a moving target.”

Kodak plans to sample the new chip to camera makers in the spring of 2008 and says that using the new chip won’t add cost to the cameras. The new chip will sell for $5 each in bulk lots of one million chips or more. New cameras using the Kodak chip are expected to hit market in a year.

Kodak was in the news last year when it introduced a new line of all-in-one printers that gave consumers about a 50% cost reduction in ink costs.

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