Calm amid the stormArea image sensor market will experience healthy growth

Published 7 April 2009

Charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensors will remain about flat through 2013, but sales of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensors will increase significantly; CMOS will make up 62 percent of security camera image sensors by 2013

There is a pattern emerging. The other day we wrote about the robust growth of the video surveillance market, and the healthy growth the segment is predicted to experience in the next two years (“Video Surveillance Market Maintains 10 Percent Growth,” 1 April 2009 HS Daily Wire). Now we have a new research finding similar health in the related area image sensor market.

TMCnet’s Patrick Barnard writes that as wireless service providers prepare to roll out new 4G networks, mobile device makers are increasingly incorporating digital cameras as a standard feature of their products. In fact, with new wireless networking technologies such as LTE, which allows true device-to-device communications, now coming to the fore, many device makers are now incorporating two cameras in every phone: one for taking pictures and the other for live, two-way video communications. What is more, Barnard notes that Apple is no longer the only technology company to offer a built-in camera in every one of its notebook and desktop computers as a standard feature: Other computer makers, including Dell, are now including built-in cameras a standard part of their desktop and notebook PCs as well.

As such, the global market for area image sensors — the part of a digital camera that “detects” the image — is booming. It is about to get even better, according to a report from market research firm In-Stat. “Worldwide unit shipments of image sensors in camera phones continue to rise, mostly as a result of the continuing penetration of dual-camera phones in Asian markets,” the firm states in a release promoting its report entitled Image Sensors 2009: Camera Phones Continue to Dominate Shipments.

The report finds that the market for charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensors will remain about flat through 2013. But sales of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensors will increase significantly, to about 2 billion units. “In 2008, CMOS sensors accounted for 87 percent of area image sensor shipments,” In-Stat says in its summary of the report. “By 2013, CCD is expected to comprise less than 4 percent of the total area image sensor market.”

CCD continues to lose ground to CMOS in all applications, including digital still cameras, a market that was once dominated by CCDs,” In-Stat adds in the summary. “Although in years past CMOS had only been used in DSLR cameras, point-and-shoot digital cameras with CMOS are now on the market.”

The report provides both CCD and CMOS annual penetration into eleven separate applications through 2013.

In-Stat says camera phones comprised more than 80 percent of all shipped image sensors in 2008, “with recent growth coming from the continuing penetration of dual-camera phones used primarily in Asian markets.” The report predicts that embedded PC cameras will surpass digital still cameras by 2011. “Currently a small segment of the market, embedded PC cameras will surpass digital still cameras to become the second-largest application for image sensors by 2011,” says Brian O’Rourke, In-Stat analyst. “A few years ago, only Apple incorporated cameras into desktop and laptop computers; in 2008, nearly all major PC manufacturers offered embedded PC cameras in mobile PCs.”

In-Stat points out that embedded PC cameras, which can take super high resolution photographs and HD-quality video, will become extremely popular over the next few years, with the majority of notebook PCs shipping with them by 2012. Image sensors will continue to be incorporated in a range of other consumer devices beside phones and laptops, including digital still cameras, camcorders, security cameras, Web cameras, consumer IP cameras, embedded LCD monitor cameras and toys — not to mention automobiles as well. The report finds that CMOS will make up 62 percent of security camera image sensors by 2013.

The report notes that there are many competitors in this market, including Aptina, MagnaChip, OmniVision Technologies, Sharp, Sony, and Panasonic. It includes worldwide unit shipment forecasts for CMOS and CCD sensors through 2013, worldwide image sensor forecasts by product category through 2013, analysis of the markets for various sensor applications, and profiles of image sensor suppliers.