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Cellular Phones Drive Image Sensor Market

Photonics Spectra
Feb 2007
Cellular phones have developed as the largest market for image sensors and have become the primary application for CCD and CMOS image sensors, according to a report from iSuppli Corp. of Segundo, Calif. Published in November, the compilation, titled “CCD and CMOS Image Sensors: Handset Market Driving the Industry,” indicates that cellular phone handsets accounted for 15 percent of total CCD shipments in 2005 and predicts that they will make up 30 percent of the shipments by 2010. Handsets were the dominant application for CMOS sensors, accounting for 88 percent of total shipments in 2005, and are expected to account for 84 percent of such shipments by 2010.


The chart depicts the forecast for camera integration into mobile phones from 2004 to 2010. Primary camera integration (red) is expected to increase from 65 percent in 2006 to 85 percent in 2010, and primary and secondary camera integration (yellow), from 7 to 13 percent during that period. Handsets without a camera (blue) are expected to decline to 14.8 percent of total handsets by 2010. Reprinted with permission of iSuppli Corp.

Two types of cameras are used in the handsets. The primary camera is a standard device that takes pictures like any other, while a secondary camera images the user for videoconferencing applications.

The report suggests that, although cameras have become standard on most cellular phones, studies indicate that less than 10 percent of consumers use them as their main image capture device. Digital still cameras are preferred over the handset devices because they provide better image quality, and greater functionality and ease of operation. The difficulties and cost of transferring images from a handset to another device, such as a computer, also must be overcome.

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