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Dennis Hissink : May 19th 2004 - 14:00 CET

SMaL introduces Ultra-Pocket 5 Rapid kit

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SMaLSMaL Camera Technologies, a developer of digital imaging solutions and enabler of award-winning super-thin digital still cameras, announced today its new Ultra-Pocket 5 rapid development kit for 3 Megapixel credit card cameras with colour TFT display. The Ultra-Pocket 5 kit enables manufacturers and brands to rapidly enter the heart of the mass consumer market, 3 Megapixel, with unparalleled thinness, style, wide dynamic range, and worry-free battery life, in the sub-$129 retail price range. "Manufacturers and brands struggle to penetrate the highly coveted 'slim' category for digital cameras," says Maurizio Arienzo, SMaL's president and chief executive officer. The kit is available now to qualified OEMs .
SMaL introduces Ultra-Pocket 5 Rapid kit "When they rely on off-the-shelf components, not only is their time to market slow and expensive, but also their cameras fail to meet consumers' and retailers' expectations in thinness, battery life, and quality, and in many cases, price point. Only SMaL's Ultra-Pocket 5 kit overcomes all of these sources of frustration for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike."

Kit Overcomes Major Weaknesses of Standard Digital Cameras
Despite the many advancements in digital photography over the past decade, standard digital cameras still fall far short of film cameras due to extremely short battery life and limited dynamic range. All SMaL credit card camera kits, including the Ultra-Pocket 5 kit, feature two proprietary technologies that not only resolve these vital power and dynamic range issues, but are also unmatched by any other CCD or CMOS-based solution.

SMaL's Longevity ultra-low-power design with rechargeable battery uses 90% less power than traditional digital cameras. Since the camera charges automatically while images are downloaded to the computer and stores enough charge for more than 1,000 shots (up to 170 with 1.5" LCD and 100% strobe usage), consumers virtually never worry about the battery. In addition to long battery life, SMaL enabled cameras have a high-speed start-up time of less than 1 second (with strobe flash off). The combination of low power use, rechargeable battery, and fast start-up time creates the SMaL "always ready to shoot" advantage. This means consumers can capture spontaneous moments without ever worrying about the battery.

Autobrite intelligent exposure technology provides hundreds of times more dynamic range than standard cameras. Unlike dynamic range technology by companies such as FujiFilm and Kodak, Autobrite is capable, at a mass consumer price point, of capturing eye-like details when both bright and dim areas appear in the same scene. Even entry-level camera users no longer have to worry about the position of the sun when snapping a photo, Autobrite solves this problem for them by adapting to the lighting conditions.

OEM Capitalization on Explosive Market Opportunity
"For this holiday season and beyond, there is an enormous demand among entry-level digital camera buyers, youth, and gift-givers for stylish, yet affordable, 3 Megapixel slim cameras that produce film-quality prints," says Stuart Nixdorff, SMaL's vice president of sales and marketing. "Only SMaL's solution enables OEMs, ODMs, and brands to capitalize fully and quickly on this market opportunity, and at a retail price points of $129 and below." While the market SMaL created for credit card cameras has been quickly followed by large Japanese suppliers like Casio, Canon, and Sony, only SMaL can offer the market the same quality, size and key functionality at half the price. SMaL supplies the high volume, opening price point of slim, miniaturized cameras.

High Integration Means Small Form Factors, High Quality
The high level of integration in SMaL's kit results in cameras with only one-half the number of components required by designs from other companies. This low component count means smaller form factors, higher product reliability and higher manufacturing yield, all contributing to lower overall cost. Due to the vertically integrated imager and optics, SMaL designs produce sharper, crisper images compared to cameras using off-the-shelf optical components.

Creator of and Largest Supplier in the Slim Credit Card Camera Market
SMaL created the ultra-slim digital camera category in 2001 with the introduction of the Ultra-Pocket 1 VGA prototype camera at the 2001 International Consumer Electronics Show, where it was awarded "Best of CES" for digital imaging. To date, SMaL has launched 5 unique Ultra-Pocket reference designs ranging from VGA to 3.0MP and enabled well over 1.5 million credit card cameras launched by FujiFilm AXIA, RadioShack, Logitech, NHJ Limited, IDT, Oregon Scientific, and Creative Labs. SMaL-enabled cameras continue to distinguish themselves in the crowded digital camera market through sleek designs, unparalleled portability, uniquely long battery life, and ease of use.

Fast Time-to-Market
The Ultra-Pocket 5 kit includes everything OEMs require for fast time-to-market: a 3 Megapixel colour CMOS image sensor with Autobrite, ASIC controller, lithium-polymer rechargeable battery, taking lens, optical viewfinder and complete reference design specifications. The kit is available now to qualified OEMs looking to ship products into the marketplace in the second half of 2004.

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