Omnivision brings 1080p to front-facing cameras with new chip

Could the next generation of Android phones have front-facing 1080p cameras?
Will Android phones have front-facing 1080p cameras?

OmniVision announced a new image sensor chip that could make you look a lot better on your next smartphone or tablet video chat.

While the OV2722 chip doesn't have a catchy name, it does offer a significant upgrade for mobile devices: a 1080p camera small enough to fit for a device's front-facing camera.

Measuring at less than 3mm deep, the chip is a 1/6-inch native 1080p HD CMOS image sensor featuring OmniVision's OmniBSI+ pixel architecture to enable full HD image quality in a small form factor.

No need for a tradeoff

Rear-facing cameras typically hog all the glory on mobile devices, boasting superior picture quality, while front-facing cameras typically feature VGA quality with rare exceptions venturing into 720p territory.

The camera tradeoff works for taking simple snapshots, but hurts image quality when using video chat features such as Skype.

OmniVision says its OV2722 camera chip can eliminate the tradeoff entirely, allowing for full HD picture quality from both rear and front cameras on even the thinnest devices.

"We believe that current market trends are quickly moving beyond 720p, and we are seeing strong demand for premium quality 1080p HD video sensors that can meet the criteria and specifications of online video sharing platforms such as Skype, and unified communications platforms such as Microsoft Lync," said OmniVision director of product marketing Nick Nam.

"In addition, many high-end cameras are required to have extremely small form factors so that they can fit inside next-generation smartphones, tablets, notebooks and Ultrabooks. The OV2722 is specifically crafted to meet these stringent performance requirements and design specifications, making it the ideal choice for these high-end devices."

OmniVision hasn't announced any mobile devices or Ultrabooks that plan to use the OV2722 chip yet.

However, the company announced that the chip has already gone into volume production, so ideally we'll see 1080p front-facing cameras showing up in smartphones soon.