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Aiptek's PenCam 2 VGA digital camera. Courtesy of Aiptek Inc. Aiptek announces new PenCam with VGA resolution!
(Friday, March 23, 2001 - 12:46 EST)

Last year's Hyper i-cam gets higher specs and a new name...

IR reader Mark Russell-Smith in Finland emailed us this morning to point out a pen-sized digital camera weighing 70 grams, and with a pricetag of about 230 Deutsche Marks, the dnt CamStick. A quick look confirmed our suspicions - readers may recall back on August 4th 2000 we told you about a camera from Aiptek which was then called the Hyper i-cam. Well, the dnt CamStick is none other than a rebadge of the Aiptek camera, which incidentally is now called the Aiptek PenCam Trio...

Aiptek's PenCam 2 VGA digital camera. Courtesy of Aiptek Inc.Whilst confirming this, however, we stumbled across news from three weeks ago of a new PenCam from Aiptek, with improved specifications! The PenCam 2 VGA replaces the older camera's 352 x 288 (CIF) CMOS image sensor with a 24-bit 640 x 480 pixel CMOS sensor. The lens, still a 5.6mm fixed focus type, has apparently also been improved from the previous model and now features a micro-glass overlay...

Unfortunately, the news is not all good. The same 8MB of SDRAM memory that was used in the more expensive of the two Hyper i-cam models is retained for the PenCam 2 VGA, meaning that stepping up to the higher resolution of the PenCam 2 will cut down on how many images can be stored in the camera (26 VGA or 107 QVGA images, as compared to 80 CIF or 320 QCIF images on the older camera). Likewise, video performance is cut down from a maximum 32 seconds of CIF or 40 seconds of QCIF video, to only 7 seconds of VGA or 20 seconds of QVGA video in the new model. Bizarrely, Aiptek's website suggests that the camera also interpolates its still images at both resolutions, from 640 x 480 up to 1024 x 768, and from 320 x 240 up to 640 x 480. Nowhere is there any suggestion that this can be disabled, which is disappointing since there is no quality gain from the interpolation but there is a definite loss of storage capacity.

Also the fact that SDRAM memory is used instead of Flash memory means that battery power is required to store images (and when batteries run out, any images are lost)... One last drawback is that the new PenCam is somewhat larger (60% by volume) than the old model, at 5.6" x 1.35" x 1.0" as compared to 4.9" x 1.2" x 0.8"...

Power on the PenCam 2 VGA is the same as for the older PenCam Trio - two AAA Alkaline batteries are claimed to offer continuous snapshots for two hours, or stand-by mode for two weeks. The camera can also draw power from a USB connection, so when in use as a tethered PC camera the batteries are not used.

The Aiptek Pencam 2 VGA is apparently available as of last Tuesday in the USA from Electronics Boutique. Nieman Marcus will also carry the camera from next Monday, and Ritz Camera will stock it from April 1st... Electronics Boutique are selling the PenCam 2 VGA for $99.99, $30 more than their price for the PenCam Trio.

Source: Aiptek Inc. website

Original Source Press Release:

PC Camera, Digital Camera and Digital Camcorder, All In One!

Lake Forest, CA, March 1, 2001 – New trends in today’s technology marketplace have brought about a movement towards smaller, more compact devices that still retain all of the features and functions of their predecessors. Tapping into this exciting new market, Aiptek Inc. has just released a device that is not only more convenient than its predecessors, but one that also boasts some remarkable new additions.

Aiptek’s new PenCam 2 literally has a trio of attractive options that give you more convenience and versatility than ever before. Plug it into your home computer and you have all the convenience of a USB PC camera. Unplug it, and it’s also a fully functional digital camera! But the PenCam 2 doesn’t just stop there. The PenCam 2 is three great cameras, all in one compact package. In addition to a PC camera and digital camera, you get another exciting function that really makes this product stand out from the rest. The PenCam 2 also gives you the ability to record live video, completely independent of your PC! No other device in its price range can boast so many exciting options!

The PenCam 2 also comes complete with a software bundle that bristles with options. You’ll literally have your own home editing studio!

  • Edit your photos to create greeting cards, calendars, albums, web pages, etc...
  • Send your pictures, or even live videos to family, friends and clients via e-mail.
  • Enlarge your own photos and print out as many copies as you like. Stop paying outlandish developing fees!
  • Produce and edit your own home movies.
  • Plus much, much more!
The PenCam 2’s compact size and durable design make it a great tool for a variety of applications. It’s so convenient, you can slip it into your pocket, and take it with you everywhere! This exciting new product is unlike any other on the market. Already a great device simply for the convenience that its compact size offers, it also boasts an abundance of valuable features. You get so many options without the added hassle of carrying around more tools and bulky hardware. For convenience and versatility at a price that you can afford, the Aiptek PenCam 2 truly is an unparalleled value.

About Aiptek

AIPTEK Inc. is the leading manufacturer of PC graphical tablets in the peripheral industry today. Well-renowned for developing the StartWriter, the first and only interactive pen-based educational writing system for children, during the past year they have expanded their product line beyond only graphical tablet based systems. After achieving much success in the PC camera market with their line of Home, Professional, and Mobile based USB cameras, Aiptek has recently developed an all-new, innovative line of products. This innovative new line consists of low priced, extremely high quality video telephones, which places Aiptek Inc. into a class of their own. The new product line allows superb quality face-to-face communication over ordinary phone lines. Making video phone calls has never been this affordable, simple, or fun!

The Aiptek logo and PenCam 2 are both registered trademarks of Aiptek International Inc.

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