Samsung is expanding its range of CMOS image sensors with a new high-definition 1/4-inch, 1.2 Megapixel (Mp) system-on-chip (SoC) webcam.

The S5K4AW is intended for embedding in both notebook and desktop computers.

Developed specifically for real-time HD video capture, the imager supports 720p HD video at 30 frames per second, and captures VGA video at up to 60 frames per second.

Dr Yiwan Wong, vice president of marketing for Samsung Electronics’ System LSI Division, said that by incorporating a technique called binning in 2×2 pixel groups, the S5K4AW addresses the oft-encountered problem of using webcams in low light.

He said the imager is 3x more sensitive than current sensors.

The binning technique also mean the imager can display standard VGA format without the need for cropping.

Wong said this eliminates the "annoying problem" of losing the top or the bottom of a scene while video conferencing or video file sharing on social media networks such as YouTube.

Mass production of the S5K4AW is expected in the first half of 2009.

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