Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Himax Imaging Begins Image Sensor Shipments

Yahoo: Himax announced that in less than two years since the company established its CMOS image sensor team, it has launched 3MP, 2MP and VGA sensors and will soon commence small-scale commercial shipments to one of the world's leading cell phone camera module manufacturers. The company expects the product segment to ramp in the second half of the year.

Himax's CMOS image sensor was developed under Himax Imaging, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Himax. Established from scratch in March 2007, Himax Imaging has grown into a team of 50 employees, with R&D in Irvine, California, and Jhubei, Taiwan and sales, marketing and technical support in Taiwan, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The rumor is that the new sensors are based on 1.75um pixels - could be a great news, if announced 3 years ago.

11 comments:

  1. Just what the market needs: another supplier to further drive down pricing to the point where no one can make money...

    Every day the CMOS "barbiecam" sensor market is looking more and more like the DRAM and NAND Flash market to me.

    In fact you are seeing many of the same players in all those markets and we know the mindset of the memory makers: price the competitors out of business. It is sort of a battle of attrition best I can tell.

    here are the bios of the management at Himax:

    President and CEO: Jordan Wu Jordan Wu is our president and chief executive officer. Mr. Wu served as the chairman of the board of directors of Himax Taiwan, a position that he held since April 2003. Mr. Wu is also the chairman of the board of directors of Wisepal and Integrated Microdisplays and a director of Himax Taiwan, Himax Display, Himax Analogic, Himax Samoa, Himax Anyang, Himax Shenzhen, Himax Suzhou and Himax Imaging Ltd. Prior to joining Himax Taiwan, Mr. Wu served as chief executive officer of TV Plus Technologies, Inc. and chief financial officer and executive director of DVN Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong. Prior to that, he was an investment banker at Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) Limited, Barclays de Zoete Wedd (Asia) Limited and Baring Securities, based in Hong Kong and Taipei. Mr. Wu holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from National Taiwan University and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Rochester.

    CTO:
    Dr. Sergi Lin. Sergi Lin is the Chief Technology Office and one of the co-founders of Himax Imaging. He provides the technical leadership for the company drawing from more than 10 years of CMOS sensor experience with in-depth knowledge of CMOS sensor architecture, pixel design, device physics, optoelectronics and mixed-signal circuit design. Prior to Himax Imaging, Dr. Lin was the Principal Sensor Designer at ESS Technology where he successfully led the company's first 4T and 4T-shared sensor development. Prior to ESS Technology, Dr. Lin was a Senior Research Scientist and Design Engineer at Biomorphic VLSI where he led the company's 2MP sensor chip. While at both companies, Dr. Lin developed extensive experience and a successful track record designing image sensors. Dr. Lin earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles, Masters and Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from National Chiao-Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan. He holds several patents in areas related to CMOS sensor.

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  2. Himax Imaging is rumored to use TSMC as a foundry, so the price won't go down much. Also, Himax pixels are too large for 2009. So, I believe it will remain a niche player until it finds a more effective way to compete for the market share.

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  3. If Himax Imaging is to use TSMC as a foundry, the company has the price advantage in TSMC than anyone uses TSMC.

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  4. Do you say TSMC gives better prices to Himax Imaging than to Omnivision?

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  5. It looks to me that they have absolutely no possiblity of a cost advantage by using the same foundry as a far larger purchaser of foundry wafers. I would further submit they will be forced to take a lower margin: they will pay more for their wafer starts and will have to undercut the established competition in order to secure design wins.

    My opinion is we see a bankruptcy evolving in slow motion... I give them 18 months tops...

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  6. Himax mother company is a very big TSMC customer. I do not have the numbers at hand, but it might be much bigger than Omnivision. So, I would not totally discard the possibility that Himax Imaging gets better prices than Omnivision.

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  7. It appears that Himax' mother company's dominant product is LCD drivers.... Not sure how many TSMC wafers they need per year for that biz: possibly more than OVT, but on what technology node?

    ----------
    About Himax Imaging

    Himax Imaging Incorporated is a fabless semiconductor company that develops CMOS image sensors and System-on-Chip (SOC) solutions for mobile handsets, consumer electronics and surveillance camera markets. Building upon decades of industry experience, our CMOS image sensor solutions are compact, feature-rich and designed to capture still images and video with excellent quality at high frame rates.
    In 2007, Himax Imaging received its primary seed funding from Himax Technologies Incorporated, a leader in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) driver solutions. Himax Technologies is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange ("HIMX") with its headquarter in Tainan, Taiwan, and regional offices in Taiwan, China, Japan and South Korea. The relationship with Himax Technologies provides Himax Imaging access to experienced leadership and world class supply chain management expertise; a critical component to ensuring product quality and availability.

    At Himax Imaging, we enable our customers to quickly bring quality camera products to market. Our focus is to provide exceptional service and local support for the highest quality image sensors designed for performance and simplicity.

    Himax Imaging is based in Irvine, CA with design centers in Irvine and Jhubei (Taiwan).

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  8. It appears to the silicon substrate is the silicon substrate. It does not matter what the technology node. As long as Himax stays in the matured CIS technology, the wafer price will be the advantage to Himax.

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  9. Himax is the world's largest supplier of LCD driver IC's. At its peak, Himax was shipping 100 million driver IC's per month, mostly fabbed at TSMC. This sort of volume is roughly an order of magnitude higher than CMOS sensors fabbed at TSMC, we're talking about an entire fab being booked, so I'm sure TSMC will give the best prices to Himax. As far as I know, all Himax subsidiaries send their wafer outsourcing through Himax, so they also get this volume discount

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  10. The assumption is: Himax is not going to enter the BSI technology for smaller pixel size. If Himax stays with FSI, Himax has the pricing advantage and great support from TSMC than any CIS customers in TSMC except OVT.

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  11. today the market cap on Yahoo for OVT is $366.7M USD

    for HIMAX it is $361.23M USD

    the Feb 19 press release of earnings (http://www.himax.com.tw/en/news/pdf/Q408%20Earnings%20Press%20Release_Final.pdf) said that Himax gross sales for the quarter ending Sept 30 was $230.066M

    For OVT for the quarter ending 31 Oct they had gross sales of $163.9M

    Just a bit of financial data

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