STMicroelectronics hopes to make the wimpy LED flash on your smartphone as bright as the xenon flash in your camera with a new chip that packs a supercapacitor for quick bursts of power.
On average the always-on LED flashes used in smartphones only produce about 2W of power, barely enough to illuminate someone standing right in front of the lens. So to compensate for a lack of light, your phone uses a longer exposure, which can lead to blurry photos if you or your subject is even slightly moving. But STMicro's new STCF04 chip includes a built-in supercapacitor and an array of high-intensity LEDs to produce about 40W of light in quick bursts. Which, according to the company's press release, is the equivalent brightness of an outdoor security floodlight.
At just 3mm per side the chip shouldn't add much bulk to a device's form factor, and for $2 it adds a new feature point that smartphone manufacturers can easily charge a lot more for. [STMicroelectronics via Computerworld]