To USB or Not to USB


Building a Point and Shoot Camera to Compete with Smart Phones – Part 2

As mentioned previously in Building a Point and Shoot Camera to Compete with Smart Phones – Part 1, any Camera built today really, really needs wireless connectivity.

Basically, they need a SmartPhone without the Phone.  You might get away with a WiFi only device.  In this case, you want the WiFi device to use SSIC or USB 3.0 to connect the WiFi chipset to the the phone itself on PCB.  Today’s WiFi chips in cameras use SDIO which is super slow.  This hasn’t been an issue because SD memory is slow.

My opinion is you build the camera with WiFi-AC.

USB 3.0 to Wireless

WiFi-AC lets you send lots of pictures fast.  And you want the user to have a great wireless experience moving data fast, you really need to design the camera with SSIC as the interface to the WiFi.  You only need to use a MIPI M-PHY Gear 1, which means you get to use 80% less power connecting to a WiFi AC chip running 1.25 Gbps.

This is even more important with Video.  Even with today’s terrific GoPro and Sony Sports Cameras, they record videos with huge file sizes.  It’s no secret to these users that USB.

You get the speed of USB 3.0, the lower power of SSIC, and the speed of WiFi-AC

In this case, the external USB 3.0 connector could be used with either Battery Charging or Power Delivery to charge the Camera much faster that using standard USB 3.0 charging.

Battery Charging provides for charging at 7.5W and Power Deliver up to 100W.  (Power Delivery is still in it’s beginning stages and there are no products available yet supporting this standard.  Battery Charging is available and used in Kindle Fire platforms and other devices.

In this way, the Camera can be charged and powered from any location in your home, and you can transfer the data wirelessly to any location.  Alternatively, you can use the USB 3.0 connector directly to the PC or host for the fastest possible transfer of data.  Most users shooting lots of HD or 4K video on a camera will use a cable.  The average user will prefer to use the wireless connection.

I don’t know that a single digital camera person in the world actually reads this blog, but I can tell you that:

Consumers expect “Instant On” experiences.  This leads to the expectation of fast data transfers for everything else, posting to the internet for sharing (Facebook), or transferring to a PC for editing.  Most of it for consumers is simple transferring and backup.  Faster WiFi-AC gives the speed.  SSIC gives the lower power.


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A horse walks into a Bar, the Bartender says “Why the long face?”

Two USB Product Marketing Managers (PMM) on opposite sides of a dangerous, violent river,

The first PMM yells across the river, “How do I get to the other side?”

The second PMM responds, “You are on the Other Side!”


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