Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Siliconfile Facts and Predictions

Siliconfile CEO Shin Baek-Kyu (Alex Shin) published an article in EE Times Asia, telling few interesting facts about the company:

  1. Siliconfile has ranked 5th in the global market in terms of image sensor production volume, even though it is a small fabless company with only 80 employees.
  2. In China, the company holds about 60 percent market share in the 2MP CIS market - very impressive.
  3. Siliconfile is the first Korean company to contract and export its 2Mpixel image sensors to Japan.
  4. One of its sales goals is to have the technology to minimize chip sizes down to 10-70% of competitors' chips - I don't believe in 10% number. Even 70% is hard to believe in, if functionality is the same.
  5. Looking into the future, Siliconfile has created a bio chip that combines sensors with biometrics technology, and is developing ultra-thin solar batteries - nice work, given it has sufficient resources.
  6. The strategic partnership is a necessity for fabless companies and it is the reason that Siliconfile has strengthened the strategic partnership with Dongbu.
  7. Shin Baek-Kyu expects that "DRAMization" will be the major topic of conversations in CIS markets in 2008. "The companies without the DRAM-based process will be eliminated in the CIS markets".
It will be interesting to see whether Shin Baek-Kyu is right with his "DRAMization" claim. This explains why he decided to team with Hynix, even though the company is quite successful on its own with Dongbu.

True, in theory DRAM process is simpler and much cheaper than CMOS, but it's still a long distance to realize these advantages. If ISP integration trend continues, CMOS based sensors would benefit from their faster and more logic-optimized process. Personally, I think there is a place for both technologies on the market and neither of them would be "eliminated" in the long or short term.


  1. Interesting but a wild prediction indeed. Let's see who does and who does not have DRAM fabs.

    Omnivision; whoops;
    Micron: yes;
    Samsung: yes;
    Hynix: yes;
    STMicro: no;
    Toshiba: no;
    Sony: no;

    Wow, very few actually have DRAM fabs. Are not the DRAM fabs struggling themselves now?

  2. To complement the picture:

    - Cypress with ProMOS: yes
    - Omnivision with PSC: yes

    The rumor is that STMicro talks with ProMOS to use its fab.

    In my opinion, what matters is a good team. If DRAM maker happens to have a good team, it succeeds. Omnivision has, Micron has - they are successful.


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