updated 10:35 am EDT, Mon August 16, 2010
OmniVision VGA webcam seemingly Apple friendly
OmniVision today unveiled a new webcam sensor aimed at notebooks and tablets with very thin displays. The OV7727 shoots at just a VGA (640x480) resolution but uses the same backside illumination as larger phone and dedicated camera sensors. Moving to the format keeps it slim enough to fit alongside displays measuring just 2mm (0.08in) deep without sacrificing image quality.
The output itself is ultimately better than for previous webcams, OmniVision said. It can perform better in low light than past cameras and supports fully automatic exposure, gamma and white balance.
Production samples are already rolling out, and volume production is due to start in September.
The design doesn't have any named customers but may be critical to Apple. While the iPad may only get FaceTime support well after launch due to the timing, the OV7727 is showing just as rumors of an 11.6-inch MacBook Air have surfaced for a fall launch. Apple may not need a thinner camera for launch but has been one of the strongest proponents of using thinner components and is already one of OmniVision's best customers, since the iPhone and other devices currently use its camera sensors.