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Nikkei Net

Sony to Unveil Digital Camera That Can Generate Animation, Send to I-Mode Phones

September 19, 2000 (TOKYO) -- Sony Corp. plans to release on Oct. 20 a compact digital camera, the "DSC-P1," with a GIF-format animation generation system.

Sony's new digital camera DSC-P1

The camera also will be able to send animations to an i-mode mobile phone.

The camera features a CCD with 3.34 million pixels (3.24 million effective pixels), 3x optical zoom lens, Memory Stick slot, and dedicated battery that allows users to take 1,700 pictures in rapid succession. Even with all those features included, the camera is pocket-sized. The viewing angle is equivalent to 39mm - 117mm of a 35mm film camera. The product will retail for 99,800 yen. (107.63 yen = US$1)

The camera can take both still and moving pictures, and it can generate animation by advancing the frames on the camera. The animation can be transmitted to color i-mode mobile phones.

Sony says it had a market share of 17 percent and was ranked third in unit sales of digital cameras in the first quarter of 2000. Tsutomu Niimura, president of Sony's Personal Video Company, commenting on the company's aims, said, "By putting the P1 model on the market, we intend to grab a market share of around 30 percent and be ranked first in the market." Under the business plan for using the camera not only in connections with personal computers, but also game machines such as the PlayStation2 and mobile phones, Sony aims at widening the user base to non-PC users as well. The company plans to produce 150,000 units monthly and sell 50,000 units each in Japan, the United States and Europe.

The DSC-P1 measures 113mm wide by 53.9mm high by 43.8mm thick, and weighs about 250g, including the battery and Memory Stick. The miniaturized lens and substrate make the camera less high and less thick than the existing model "DSC-S70," and the cubic volume is reduced by 44 percent.

The lens is newly developed, and is composed of a 3x zoom lens in a combination of six suites and six pieces, including two aspherical lenses. A high packing density technique is applied to the substrate, and the substrate is installed as if surrounding the all-in-one-type holder of the battery and Memory Stick slot. The technique has reduced the area to one third of conventional models.

For picture-taking, the DSC-P1 has added a new feature, "CLIP MOTION," to generate animation in a GIF format. The mode is switched to the CLIP MOTION mode, and then the shutter button is pressed two or more times to generate a series of animations that play back still pictures at intervals of 0.5 seconds. A combination of up to 10 still pictures is available. To generate animation in GIF format to date, users have had to transfer the images to a PC and use an editor.

The camera body is equipped with such features as a 1.5-inch liquid-crystal panel, optical finder, USB interface, and video output terminal (NTSC/PAL). For the image compression, the camera uses the JPEG/TIFF format for still pictures and the MPEG1 format for moving pictures. The camera stores images in maximum resolutions of 2,048 x 1,536 dots in JPEG format and 320 x 240 dots in MPEG1 format.

(BizTech News Dept.)

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