Rosy picture for image sensor sector

The image sensors market has grown over the past year, despite the wider IT spending slowdown. In-Stat-MDR reports that nearly 109 million image sensors shipped for a total revenue of US$ 1.2 billion.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  September 9, 2002

The image sensors market has shown steady growth over the past year, despite the wider IT spending slowdown, according to In-Stat-MDR. It reports that nearly 109 million image sensors shipped for a total revenue of US$ 1.2 billion.

“The image sensor market continues to evolve,” says Brian O’Rourke, senior analyst, In-Stat/MDR.

“In the past year, the market for CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) image sensors has continued to grow in markets such as PC cameras, toys and dual mode cameras and they’re beginning to make headway in the digital still camera market, a stronghold of rival CCD (charge-coupled devices) technology. CMOS sensors should also capture the majority of the next big market for image sensors: mobile phone cameras.”

The analyst house expects CMOS unit shipments to overtake CCD units in 2004, driven by CMOS applications such as mobile phone cameras. However, it predicts that CCD revenue will continue to exceed CMOS revenue through 2006. CCDs will retain their lead for the time being though, especially in areas where users want the highest quality, says O’Rourke.

“Their strength in applications ranging from digital still cameras to camcorders to scientific and medical cameras ensures that CCDs will remain a very profitable business for the foreseeable future,” he adds.

The analyst further notes that in the market for linear image sensors, such as fax machines, scanners, and multifunction peripherals, CCDs have been challenged for several years by contact image sensors (CIS), a less expensive, more integrated solution. CMOS sensors are expected to begin to make an impact in linear markets in the next few years.

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