Samsung Electronics has announced the world's first 3-megapixel CMOS image sensor on Thursday, targeting the new product for ultra-thin cell phones.

The new design enables a quarter-inch lens aperture that reduces camera size by 30 percent, the company said. Picture quality in the new image sensor is comparable to a 2.25-um pixel, 1/3-inch lens aperture.

The rapidly evolving trend of user created content, blogs, and personal web pages is triggering demand for constant access to high-resolution images, bringing the consumer's attention to high-resolution camera phones, said Yong-Hee Lee, vice president of Samsung Electronics' System LSI Division.

Samsung said it expects to mass produce the new sensor chip in the first quarter of 2007 using its proprietary 90-nm copper technology.

According to market researcher iSuppli, camera phones are expected to account for 777 million units, or 74 percent, of all mobile phone shipments in 2007. It is also forecasting that 3-megapixel-resolution and higher camera phones will account for 13 percent of the market.