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FujiFilm AXIA's 'eyeplate' digital camera. Courtesy of FujiFilm AXIA / SMaL Technologies, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. World's thinnest digicam finally hits markets!
(Friday, March 15, 2002 - 14:23 EST)

SMaL UltraPocket will reach Japanese retail stores soon under a FujiFilm brandname...

SMaL's UltraPocket digital camera, recognized by Guinness World Records as the thinnest camera on the planet (look in the Technology: Gadgets section) is finally about to go on sale in Japan. First announced back in January 2001 and yet to reach retail anywhere, the device will be sold under FujiFilm's AXIA brandname, as the "AXIA eyeplate".

Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, but SMaL will apparently supply AXIA with their custom CMOS sensor, ASIC and certain other components, along with a reference design for the camera. For their part, AXIA will handle manufacturing, marketing and distribution of the cameras...

We briefly mentioned the UltraPocket in our coverage of Casio's Exilim digital camera announcements yesterday, noting that in fact SMaL's design was the slimmest, smallest and lightest digital camera design announced to date. (Casio's cameras feature megapixel resolution, LCD display and other features absent in the entry-level UltraPocket, however). The eyeplate cameras will have identical features to the UltraPocket, including a 0.8mm-thick USB-rechrgeable lithium polymer battery and SMaL's AutoBrite technology which it claims "[extends] the dynamic range of a scene up to 500 times better than conventional cameras"...

The AXIA eyeplate digital camera will ship at an as-yet unannounced price in Japan on April 1st, 2002.

FujiFilm AXIA's 'eyeplate' digital camera. Courtesy of FujiFilm AXIA / SMaL Technologies, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
FujiFilm AXIA's 'eyeplate' digital camera.

Original Source Press Release:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- SMaL Camera Technologies, Inc. announced today that FUJIFILM AXIA CO., LTD, a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. of Tokyo (Nasdaq: FUJIY), will release the world's thinnest digital camera -- the 6mm thin eyeplate(TM) -- based on SMaL's Ultra-Pocket(TM) digital camera design and technology.

SMaL introduced the credit card-sized Ultra-Pocket(TM) at the 2001 International Consumer Electronics Show, where it was awarded "Best of Show" in the digital imaging category. With the launch of its new eyeplate(TM), FUJIFILM AXIA is the first OEM to bring a version of the Ultra-Pocket(TM) to market. It is scheduled for release first in Japan on April 1, 2002.

In the OEM partnership between the two companies, SMaL supplies FUJIFILM AXIA with the reference design and major components, including SMaL's proprietary CMOS image sensor and ASIC. FUJIFILM AXIA manufactures, markets, and distributes the eyeplate(TM).

"No other camera on the market comes close to offering such a unique combination of size, affordability, and quality," says Maurizio Arienzo, President and CEO, SMaL Camera Technologies. "In order to meet the global demand for this sleek product, we were interested in OEM partners with a strong brand, a proven track record for quality, and solid distribution channels who could move very quickly. Partnering with FUJIFILM AXIA on this project made perfect sense for SMaL." Yutaka Kuroki, Manager of Hardware Marketing Division, FUJIFILM AXIA CO., LTD. adds, "We found SMaL's innovative technology very interesting and we believe the eyeplate(TM) can create new demand in the digital camera market."

Thanks to SMaL's ultra-low power imager chip set, its optics, and its 0.8mm thin, USB-rechargeable, lithium polymer battery, the eyeplate(TM) boasts an amazingly thin 6mm (0.2 inches) credit card size. SMaL's color CMOS image sensor has VGA resolution and consumes six times less power than typical VGA imagers. The chip set also features SMaL's proprietary Autobrite(TM) technology, which greatly enhances the dynamic range and automatically adjusts the exposure so that details in both bright and dim areas of a picture are clear.

About SMaL Camera Technologies
SMaL develops electronic imaging solutions for a variety of business and consumer markets, including: unique digital still cameras, security and surveillance, automotive, and handheld devices (such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and toys). SMaL's expertise is in silicon imager design, image processing, and the integration of these disciplines into high quality, low cost electronic cameras and their applications. SMaL has proprietary technologies that provide elegant solutions to key issues in electronic imaging, such as adaptive dynamic range, picture quality, and low power consumption. SMaL was co-founded and launched in 1999 by leading electronic imaging experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). SMaL Camera Technologies, a privately held venture-backed company, is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. On the Net: SMaL Camera Technologies' site: http://www.SMaLcamera.com

FUJIFILM AXIA CO., LTD. is a subsidiary of FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD., a leading global manufacturer in three business segments, including Imaging Solutions, Information Solutions and Document Solutions with consolidated sales of more than $18 billion. AXIA is the top distributor of the FUJIFILM brand digital cameras in the Japanese market. In addition, AXIA designs and markets its own brand products. AXIA is headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. On the Net: FUJIFILM AXIA's site: http://www.axia.co.jp

Autobrite(TM) and Ultra-Pocket(TM) are Trademarks of SMaL Camera Technologies, Inc.
eyeplate(TM) is a Trademark of FUJIFILM AXIA CO., LTD.

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