TI, Sharp partner to proliferate camera phones

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) has teamed up with Sharp Corp. to provide a reference design for camera phones in a move aimed at speeding cell phone manufacturers' time to market with new products, the companies said Monday.

The reference design will combine Sharp's 1 megapixel CCD (charge coupled device) camera module, flash memory and LCD (liquid crystal display) module with TI's TCS2100 chipset and OMAP-DM270 multimedia processor, the companies said.

Sharp, in Tokyo, is among the largest providers of camera modules and LCDs for cellular phones, while TI, in Dallas, said it is the largest supplier of GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Services) baseband chips.

The alliance could help boost competition in the market for handsets with cameras by reducing manufacturers' design time and costs. With the reference design, operators will be able to offer phones for GSM/GPRS networks with camera and "videomail" functions, the companies said.

The camera phone market is expected to grow over 80 percent year-over year for the next two years, the companies said, citing research from IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Sharp and TI hope to offer the reference design to handset makers worldwide by the end of 2003, they said. They will also work together to offer related software and technical support.

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