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HP licenses imaging IP for camera phones

Posted: 08 Jul 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital camera  image processing  camera phones  image sensor module 

Late last year Hewlett Packard announced that it was exiting the digital camera market, citing a lack of growth in that business sector. But just because HP has quit the camera business doesn't mean it's abandoning all of its digital camera technologies.

The image processing algorithms originally developed for HP's digital cameras will now be incorporated into cell phones, enabling users to create high-quality prints from pictures taken with camera phones.

HP has provided a licence of its image processing algorithms—which include, for example, red-eye processing, subtle lighting adjustment, and colour correction—to Flextronics, a company that makes electronics modules for cell phones. Flextronics' modules incorporate HP's algorithms, and in return, HP receives royalties.

Based on the demo given at the Mobile World Congress, the resulting hardware/software solution can generate high-quality images out of relatively mediocre optics and image sensors. At the demo HP showed some stunning 8x10 prints made from pictures taken with an image sensor module that's used in cell phones.

It is likely that cell phones will not only subsume a significant portion of the digital camera market, but many other classes of consumer electronics products as well—including portable media players, portable gaming consoles, etc. Increasingly, previously stand-alone products (like digital cameras) will become features of other products (like cell phones). When that happens, it's typically the algorithms that maintain their value, rather than the hardware. As a result, HP's investment in image processing algorithms for its digital cameras will continue to pay off—even without HP cameras to put them in.

DSP DesignLine

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