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1. (WO2006098954) DIGITAL PICTURE TAKING OPTICAL READER HAVING HYBRID MONOCHROME AND COLOR IMAGE SENSOR ARRAY
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We Claim:

1. An apparatus comprising:
(a) an imaging assembly comprising a two-dimensional solid state image sensor array and an imaging lens focusing an image onto an active surface of said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array, said solid state two-dimensional image sensor array having a plurality of pixels, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array being a hybrid monochrome and color sensitive image sensor array constructed such that a first subset of pixels of said image sensor array are monochrome pixels without wavelength selective color filter elements and a second subset of pixels of said image sensor array are color sensitive pixels, each of which includes a wavelength selective color filter element;
(b) a hand held housing encapsulating and supporting said solid state image sensor array;
(c) first circuitry coupled to said imaging assembly being configured to transfer image data to a bar code decode circuit; and
(d) second circuitry coupled to said imaging assembly being configured to obtain a visual display color frame of image data utilizing said solid state image sensor array.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said apparatus further comprises an illumination assembly including at least one light source.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein said hand held housing incorporates a bar code decode circuit.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said first circuitry and said second circuitry are incorporated in said hand held housing.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said apparatus includes a bar code decode circuit spaced apart from said hand held housing.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said plurality of pixels are selectively addressable, and wherein said bar code reading apparatus in at least one operating mode selectively addresses said monochrome pixels and selectively reads out image data from said monochrome pixels.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said plurality of pixels are selectively addressable, and wherein said bar code reading apparatus in at least one operating mode selectively addresses said color sensitive pixels and selectively reads out image data from said color sensitive pixels.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said color sensitive pixels of said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array are uniformly or substantially uniformly distributed throughout said two-dimensional solid state image sensor at spaced apart pixel positions.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said image sensor array is configured so that said monochrome pixels can be driven into reset while said color sensitive pixels are exposed for image data readout.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein said monochrome pixels of said first subset are smaller dimensioned than said color sensitive pixels of said second subset.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein said monochrome pixels of said first subset are formed in a monochrome zone of pixels extending at least one complete row of pixels of said solid image sensor array.

12. A portable optical reader comprising:
(a) an imaging assembly having a two-dimensional solid state image sensor array and an imaging lens focusing an image onto an active surface of said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array, said solid state two-dimensional image sensor array having a plurality of pixels, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array being constructed such that a first subset of said plurality of pixels have a first transistor count, and a second subset of said plurality of pixels have a second transistor count, and wherein said first transistor count is different from said second transistor count;
(b) wherein the portable optical reader is configured to be operable in each of a user selectable decode mode of operation and a user-selectable picture taking mode of operation;
(c) wherein said optical reader, when operating in said decode mode, controls said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array to obtain a frame of image data and automatically transfers said frame of image data to an indicia decode circuit;

(d) wherein said optical reader, when operating in said picture taking mode, controls said solid state two-dimensional image sensor array to obtain a visual display color frame of image data, and automatically outputs said frame of image data to an output destination selected from the group consisting of a display device a memory address location and a spaced apart device.

13. The portable optical reader of claim 12, wherein said pixels of said second subset of pixels having said smaller transistor count are color sensitive pixels including wavelength selective color filters.

14. The portable optical reader of claim 12, wherein said pixels of said second subset of pixels having said smaller transistor count are color sensitive pixels including wavelength selective color filters, said wavelength selective filters being selected from the group consisting of cyan filters and magenta filters.

15. A device comprising:
two-dimensional solid state image sensor array having a plurality of pixels, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array being a hybrid monochrome and color sensitive image sensor array constructed such that a first subset of pixels of said image sensor array are monochrome pixels without color filter elements and a second subset of pixels of said image sensor array are color sensitive pixels, each of which includes a wavelength selective filter element.

16. The device of claim 15, incorporated into an indicia decoding device.

17. A portable data collection device comprising:
(a) an imaging assembly comprising a two-dimensional solid state image sensor array and an imaging lens focusing an image onto an active surface of said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array having a plurality of pixels, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array being a hybrid monochrome and color sensitive image sensor array constructed such that a first subset of pixels of said image sensor array are monochrome pixels without color filter elements and a second subset of pixels of said image sensor array are color sensitive pixels, each of which includes a wavelength selective filter element;

(b) a hand held housing encapsulating and supporting said solid state image sensor;
(c) wherein said portable data collection device is configured to be operated in each of a user-selectable indicia decode mode of operation and user selectable picture taking mode of operation;
(d) wherein said optical reader, when said indicia decode mode of operation is selected and a trigger signal is received, controls said solid state image sensor array to obtain a decode frame of image data and automatically transfers said frame of image data to an indicia decode circuit; and
(e) wherein said optical reader, when said picture taking mode is selected and a trigger signal is received, controls said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array to obtain a visual display color frame of image data, and automatically outputs said visual display color frame of image data.

18. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said image sensor array is constructed so that said monochrome pixels are selectively addressable independent of said color sensitive pixels such that image data corresponding to said monochrome pixels are selectively read out independent of image data corresponding to said color sensitive pixels.

19. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said plurality of pixels are selectively addressable, and wherein said optical reader when in said indicia decode mode selectively addresses said monochrome pixels and selectively reads out image data from said monochrome pixels.

20. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said plurality of pixels are selectively addressable, and wherein said optical reader when in said picture taking mode selectively addresses said monochrome pixels and selectively reads out image data from said color sensitive pixels.

21. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said color sensitive pixels of said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array are uniformly distributed throughout said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array.

22. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said image sensor array includes a checkerboard pattern of pixels, and wherein pixels of said color sensitive second subset of pixels are at spaced apart positions of said image sensor array and uniformly or substantially uniformly distributed throughout said image sensor array.

23. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said color sensitive color filter elements of said color sensitive pixels are selected from the group consisting of cyan filter elements and magenta filter elements.

24. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said optical reader includes a display device, and wherein said optical reader in outputting said frame of image data sends said frame of image data to said display of said optical reader.

25. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said optical reader in outputting said frame of image data in said picture taking mode outputs said frame of image data to an output destination selected from the group consisting of a display device, a memory address, or a spaced apart device.

26. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said optical reader is configured so that said optical reader is both configured to operate in said decode mode and to receive said trigger signal when a single control button of said optical reader is actuated.

27. The portable data collection device of claim 17, wherein said image sensor array is configured so that said monochrome pixels can be driven into reset while said color sensitive pixels are exposed for image data read out.

28. A device comprising:
an imaging assembly having a two-dimensional solid state image sensor array and an imaging lens focusing an image onto an active surface of said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array, said solid state two-dimensional image sensor array having a plurality of pixels, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array being constructed such that a first subset of said plurality of pixels have a first transistor count, and a second subset of said plurality of pixels have a second transistor count, and wherein said first transistor count is different from said second transistor count.

29. The device of claim 28, wherein pixels of said first subset have a larger transistor count than pixels of said second subset, and wherein said pixels of said second subset having said smaller transistor count are color sensitive pixels including wavelength selective color filters.

30. The device of claim 29, wherein pixels of said first subset have a larger transistor count than pixels of said second subset, and wherein said pixels of said first subset having said larger transistor count are monochrome pixels without wavelength selective color filters.

31. The device of claim 30, wherein pixels of said first subset have a larger transistor count and a larger surface area than pixels of said second subset, and wherein said pixels of said second subset having said smaller transistor count are color sensitive pixels including wavelength selective color filters.

32. The device of claim 31 , wherein pixels of said first subset have a larger transistor count and a larger surface area than pixels of said second subset, and wherein said pixels of said first subset having said larger transistor count are monochrome pixels without wavelength selective color filters.

33. A data collection device comprising:
(a) an imaging assembly comprising a two-dimensional solid state image sensor array and an imaging lens focusing an image onto an active surface of said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array having a plurality of pixels, said two-dimensional solid state image sensor array being a hybrid monochrome and color sensitive image sensor array constructed such that a first subset of pixels of said image sensor array are monochrome pixels without color filter elements and a second subset of pixels of said image sensor array are color sensitive pixels, each of which includes a wavelength selective filter element;
(b) wherein said portable data collection device operates in a mode in which said data collection device controls said solid state image sensor array to obtain a decode frame of image data and transfers said frame of image data to an indicia decode circuit.