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Dennis Hissink : October 7th 2003 - 18:42 CET

SMaL presents Ultra-Pocket 4 Rapid Development Kit

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SMaLSMaL Camera Technologies, a developer of electronic imaging solutions and enabler of award-winning super-thin digital still cameras, announced today its new Ultra-Pocket 4 rapid development kit for 2 Megapixel credit card cameras with color TFT display. The Ultra-Pocket 4 kit enables OEMs and ODMs to quickly fill the void in the 2-megapixel digital camera market for extremely thin, fashionable, and portable cameras for the on-the-go lifestyle, in the $150 retail price range. "Consumers worldwide are demanding digital cameras that meet not only their photography needs, but also their lifestyle and budget requirements," says Maurizio Arienzo, SMaL's president and chief executive officer.
"Now OEMs and ODMs can aim directly at the largest segment of the market, 2 Megapixel - and differentiate with extremely portable and affordable cameras that produce crisp images suitable for making 8x10-inch prints. Cameras enabled by SMaL's Ultra-Pocket 4 kit are perfect for first-time digital camera buyers, gift-givers, and existing owners of digital cameras who want a sleek companion camera that is always with them."

Standard digital cameras 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 4 kit, feature two proprietary technologies that are 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 during USB download and stores enough charge for up to 200 shots (with 1.5" LCD and 100% strobe usage), it is virtually impossible to run down 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, so details in both bright and dim areas are clearly visible at the same time. 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.

"Consumers no longer have to spend $250, or more, to get a stylish thin camera that produces film-quality prints," says Stuart Nixdorff, SMaL's vice president of sales and marketing. "Since the introduction of the first SMaL-enabled thin camera, consumers have shifted from wanting thin cameras to demanding them. Now with the addition of the Ultra-Pocket 4 to SMaL's product line, we can supply our OEM and ODM customers with a full range of reference designs for this exploding 'thin' category."

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.

SMaL created the ultra-thin 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 enabled over 1 million credit card cameras launched by FujiFilm AXIA, RadioShack, Logitech, 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.

The Ultra-Pocket 4 kit includes everything OEMs require for fast time-to-market: a 2-megapixel color 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 eager to ship products into the marketplace in early 2004.

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