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HP aims to paint a pretty picture with cell phones

Flextronics has licensed digital imaging technology from HP.

Hewlett-Packard and contract manufacturer Flextronics have struck a deal that's likely to improve the quality of your cell phone photos.

Flextronics has licensed digital-imaging technology from HP and will begin to incorporate the technology into cell phones that hit the market in 2007. HP currently includes the same technology in its own digital cameras. The upshot is that the 3-megapixel shots taken with these tiny camera phones will be largely equivalent to the shots taken by digital still cameras. Flextronics makes phones for Motorola, Kyocera and Sony Ericsson, among others.

HP comparison shot

Camera phones are an emerging threat to the still-growing digital camera market. Companies such as Micron Technology are regularly improving the quality of the image sensors inside cameras while camera/component makers like Samsung are continually trying to improve things like video performance and megapixel resolution.

The HP technology essentially takes the light captured by the imager and refines it, so it can be printed, or looks better when posted to a Web site. Now, people take pictures with their cell phone cameras, but don't save them for posterity because the quality isn't great, according to Beyers.

In the above photo, the picture on the left was taken without HP's digital-enhancing technology, while the one on the right was produced by a camera that has it.