Smart phone and automotive application is creating demand for image sensor

September 01, 2015, anysilicon

Image sensor, in today’s world, has become an important component for many devices that we use in our daily life. Smart phone and tablets are one of the most important devices that are used. The growing popularity of sharing photos over social media through mobile phones instead of carrying camera is not only increasing the need for image sensor but it is also supporting the manufacturers to launch imaging products of better quality.


The two major types of image sensors contributing in this market are CCD (charge coupled devices) and CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor). The CCD image sensor was introduced in the early stage of the development of image sensors. But, later the development of CMOS image sensor captured the major part of this market. The decreasing price of CMOS image sensor is helping in increasing usage in various imaging devices, such as in mobile phones and digital cameras. Currently majority of image sensors are based on CMOS image sensor. The adoption rate of the image sensor market is growing because of the decrease in the prices of the digital devices as CMOS image sensors are used in digital services. Also, the introduction of primary and secondary camera in smart phone has also supported the growth of CMOS image sensor market. The huge demand for images sensor, especially CMOS image sensor, is expected from smart phone and automotive applications. The figure below depicts the comparison between CCD image sensor and CMOS image sensor between 2014 and 2020.


Image Sensor Market (2014–2020)


Source: MarketsandMarkets Analysis


The various players contributing to the image sensor market comprises Sony Corporation (Japan), Samsung Group (South Korea), OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (U.S.), ON Semiconductor (U.S.), STMicroelectronics N.V. (Switzerland), Toshiba Corporation (Japan), and Teledyne DALSA, Inc. (Canada) among others. Sony Corporation (Japan) is holding the major market share of the image sensor market followed by OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (U.S.). The figure below showcases the contribution of major players in the image sensor market.

Competitive Landscape – Image sensor Market

Source: MarketsandMarkets Analysis


The continuous investments done by Sony Corporation in the image sensor market is supporting its position among all the other players. Recently, in April, 2015, Sony Corporation announced its plans to invest in Sony Semiconductor Corporation in the financial year 2015, ending March 31, 2016, to ensure an increase in its production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors, thereby contributing to the image sensor market. The Stacked CMOS image sensors is expected to deliver superior image quality and advanced functionality in a compact size.


The demand for stacked CMOS image sensors is expected to increase and the company is expanding its market for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Additionally, the company is striving to strengthen its production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors in order to reinforce its leading position in the image sensor market. Moreover, the company also plans to increase its capacity of total production for image sensors. The current capacity of the company is approximately 60,000 wafers per month and by the end of September 2016, the level production is expected to be approximately 87,000 wafers per month.


Another important company involved in the development of image sensor is OmniVision Technologies, Inc., which is considered to the one of the leading digital imaging solution providers. The company recently, in July 2015, launched OV13853 image sensor, which features high performance 13-megapixel PureCel image sensor. The image sensor focuses on developing DSLR quality images for mainstream mobile devices. The attractive demand from end user for handheld devices is driving the company to launch such products. The OV13853 achieves low-light and best-in-class high performances and it delivers advance support for features such as phase detection autofocus (PDAF).Additionally, in November 2014, the company launched OV21840 image sensors of 21-megapixel with high performance to bring DSC-like images and video to the next generation of leading smartphones. It captures high resolution images and video, thereby enhancing platform solutions to the next generation digital imaging technologies.


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