Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Samsung to Start BSI Production in 2010

Image Sensor Blog from Japan refers to Tech-On article in Japanese saying that Samsung plans to start BSI sensors mass production sometime in 2010. The first Samsung BSI product is supposed to be 14.6MP sensor delivering 30fps speed. The sensor is based on low-cost bulk Si process. The sensor is targeted to digital cameras, camcorders and high end camera phones. No data on its pixel size is given. At 1.4um pixel node BSI technology is said to improve sensitivity by 30% as compared with FSI.

The article also has a nice CMOS sensor market pie with Omnivision holding 26% share, Aptina-18%, Samsung-17%, SETi-7% (surprise!), ST-6% and Sony-4%.

26 comments:

  1. Where is toshiba?

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  2. I think it's either 9% or 13% on this pie. Those who can read Japanese can tell us.

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  3. Thanks. And 13% probably stands for "Others", right?

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  4. That's right. 4% for Sony and 13% for others.

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  5. Is Samsung really a gorilla? Aren't they way behind OVT in both technology and market share?

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  6. Is this pie chart for $, or # units?

    Yeah, OVT should not worry about Samsung or Aptina. Those two companies are just miles behind OVT. (sarcasm).

    Maybe it is better to pay attention to what the customers are buying in terms of product technology and product mix rather than press releases and chest thumping.

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  7. OV says they are doing BSI in volume right now ... whatever that means. Others (eg Sony) have already done BSI at some volume but don't appear to be ramping. Could somebody please give me (us) a little more technical background about BSI and why it seems to be so difficult to ramp.

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  8. The chart is for units.
    True, Samsung is behind Omnivision in market share, but it's rising fast. In terms of technology, Samsung is very advanced, I'm not sure it's behind.

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  9. Units? I can't agree. I can agree if it's $.
    Oh~ maybe they included black/grey markets as well.

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  10. The biggest surprise of the lot is SETi, they have gone from 1 million units in 2005 to 140 (est) million units in 2009, with 70% consumption in China.

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  11. The biggest surprise of the lot is SETi, they have gone from 1 million units in 2005 to 140 (est) million units in 2009, with 70% consumption in China.

    -------------------------------
    Its not a surprise to OV. Anybody think OV can take China VGA back with the Camera Cube?

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  12. I've heard few theories of why SETi is so successful in China. One of them says that SETi was early to team up with Mediatek and enjoyed the fast Mediatek platform adoption in China.
    Another theory says that SETi support is much more responsive than Omnivision's.

    In the meantime SETi is expanding beyond China. Still, it remains to be seen if SETi is able to repeat its success in 1.4um pixel generation in 1-2 years from now, when 1.4um becomes mainstream.

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  13. What do u guys think for consolidation in this segment in short term ??

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  14. SETi's rise is simple. Good enough performance and close to rock bottom prices. The specfic model is SIV-100B, 1/7" 3.2um. They then won even more market with SIV-120B 1/10" 2.2um. Prices are beyond low and OV in the last 2 years just isn't able/willing to go that low.

    Omnivision hasn't done a good cheap VGA product since OV7670. OV7680 was a dud, OV7690 is a dud as well so far. However OV is fighting back with OV7675 1/9"

    To win in China, everyone needs to work with Mediaetk and they will support any sensor as long as it is a legitimate request from a cell phone customer.

    In terms of support, Omnivision is far ahead of SETi. But once you get the thing working on Mediatek's EV board, a lot of people can figure it out.

    In terms of SETi's future, you only need to look at what Dongbu is doing. They are currently on 0.11um. Do they need to go to 90nm 1.4um? probably not as running 2.2um and 1.75um is good enough for what they are trying to achieve.

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  15. Thank you for the interesting view. Actually, Dongbu is another SETi's headache. Since Dongbu is planning to sell its own sensor products, SETi might find itself competing with its own foundry on the same market. This might be an interesting competition.

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  16. I think the finalists of the consolidation will be OVT, Aptina, Samsung and Toshiba. ST, Sony and others will exit. Any views - similar or contrary?

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  17. Given the cost of making CMOS image sensors (starting with the mask set and so on) is there any real possibility for niche players (low volumes, special applications)?
    What foundry would support such companies?

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  18. Why SETi can be so successful in China?

    The reasons are quite simple:
    1) SETi's disty is the biggest one of MTK. In the meantime, the disty is also a huge channel for oversea white brand handset.
    2) SETi has the optopack solution which is a CSP-like package. (Aptina/Samsung can not grow up in China because they provide the bare dice and most of CMIs cannot work on bare dice...)

    Generally speaking, OVT's FAE support is far better than SETi. However, OVT has strong "
    internal issues" caused by some sales lead... Trading OVT sensor in China is more like trading options or memory...

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  19. If a sensor vendor can have strong supports from FAB, then it can be survived in smaller pixel market. Thus, Aptina(Micron), OVT(TSMC), Toshiba, ST, Samsung and ST will still in the market for the top tier customers.

    However, due to the cost consideration, some customer won't apply smaller pixel because it will increase some difficuties at CMIs which implies more money...

    So, SETi, Galaxycore, Himax, Pixelplus.... will be still alive. They cannot grow up more, but they will still there

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  20. Charlie, thanks for sharing your views! I did not know about MTK. It looks like there are a much more reasons for SETi success than I initially thought.

    I believe SETi is capable deliver small pixels. Dongbu already pre-announced its 1.4um pixels and in 2 or 3 years from now it will reach an acceptable quality, I think. But you are right that SETi does not need small pixels in short term.

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  21. MTK (MediaTek) has several distributors in China. They provide the "turn-key" solutions including logistic service to MTK's customers. (one stop shopping. MTK provides ref. design. Disty provide the public PCB and all parts in the BOM)

    That is the key reason why a handset project can go MP only in 3 months (including molding design).

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  22. Charlie, thanks. Your last comment put some order in my mind. At first I thought you mean MTK a PCB board marker, primarily motherboards. Now we are in sync.

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  23. Charlie's comments are what is happening in China, but SETi is still winning due to a competitive product at the cheapest possible prices. The component distributors are like blood hounds and will back whoever gives the highest percieved value to them and the customer.

    To stir the pot a little more, SETi, OV and Aptina all use fundamentally the SAME distributor in China, so the distributor plays favorites with the sensor company that gives them the most sales. It used to be OV, now its SETi.

    The distributor works by setting up various companies to avoid backlash from the various component makers so its not obvious to outsiders that all these companies are in fact all in the same group. Everyone on the inside knows this, but the sensor companies put up with it because it brings them business. How tightly knit are the group of companies? There is fierce rivalries among the group, but the various CEOs in the group plan high level strategies together and each company has a love/hate relationship with their fellow siblings. Financially, they are linked via a combined financial report statement every quarter.

    The profit all ends up back at the financial holdings company at years end.

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  24. Charlie, can you name 'the biggest disty of MTK'?

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  25. Any idea why Sony and Omnivision are in dark green, ST, Aptina and Samsung in light green and Toshiba and SETi in grey?

    Thank you in advance,

    Christian

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