Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Omnivision Reportedly Has Yield Troubles with OmniBSI-2

Wall Street Pit, Forbes, Street Insider, Mac Rumors: FBR Capital distributes information that Omnivision may be having technical difficulties with its new 8MP OmniBSI-2 sensor, possibly risking next generation iPhone socket supplier status. The claim is that yield rates at TSMC have thus far been unacceptably low for commercial viability, and that the deadline for inclusion into the next iPhone has passed. Therefore, Sony could become Apple’s primary supplier of 8MP sensors for the next iPhone, with OmniVision possibly being a backup supplier.

Earlier many analysts claimed that Omnivision will be retaining the status of prime image sensor supplier for iPhone, while Sony would be the second one. It remains to be seen if FBR's Apple supply chain checks are correct.

Update: Yahoo: Investment house Detwiler Fenton has learned from sources within OmniVision that it has not lost any Apple business and is the lead supplier of CMOS image sensors to the company.

12 comments:

  1. i read in the omnivision 10-k that came out recently that ziptronix might seek injunctive relief (i.e., a court prohibition against the sell of in, or import into, the united states of allegedly infringing parts). i wonder if this might also enter into apple's decision.

    when i heard that 90% omnivision and 10% sony, i questioned it but felt that given the breakdown, apple intended to increase sony's portion over time otherwise it would have given the entire contract to omnivision.

    any insight into, or thoughts on, this aspect?

    thanks in advance

    EK

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  2. 80:20, 90:10 are common ratios for first and second sources on sensor parts. It gives Apple two competing suppliers so they can better negotiate price, and also ramp up the 2nd supplier in case the first supplier has trouble delivering.

    Keeps everyone lean and mean, and good for consumers. Not so good for margins.

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  3. I wonder why Aptina is not a player? Could it be because of their technology??

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  4. thanks eric. would the first round be 80:20 and the second 90:10 or is it the other way around? based on the structuring of your sentence, it appears to be the former. thanks in advance.

    EK

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  5. I was just trying to give a range, not a progression.

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  6. Since this site is dedicated to image sensors, there should be many experts around. Could any one answer two questions to me. First, are the alleged image sensors of the two companies similar? Second, could the two different image sensors be used interchangeably without any changes in the other parts of the device?

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  7. thanks eric. got the message.

    seems that commoditization is here in the bsi space just like w/ fsi. multisourcing like rimm did w/ stm and ovt as long ago as 2008, as discussed in a chipworks blog back then, is important for an investor or business person to understand. normally, it's harder for you optical electronic engineers to characterize it as such since the word commodity may have a less than desirable meaning associated with it for you, but from my perspective there is commoditization along with declining prices, which can only be good for the consumer.


    EK

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  8. @3:49AM

    For your second question, they could be used interchangeably if the device is programmed to be able to use either sensor. Just detect sensor on camera start up.

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  9. since day 1, sony was always the main source of the 8m bsi
    also, according to apple's record, they never use dual sensor sources

    however, ovt indeed is a marcom company...
    well, now mr. bruce is mkting director, and mr. hassen is back as the mkting vp. even the organization, ovt always bring us lots of surprize...

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  10. Trying to find an expert on OVT sensors, in particular the OVT 14825 or 14810 family. We are having a nightmare with incomplete documentation and datasheets. Would appreciate a contact or referral to anyone that has expert interface knowledge with OVT sensors for custom FPGA development. Thanks, Scott

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  11. All OVT sensors are very well documented and are simple to control. They also have excellent customer support if you are buying more than a few parts.

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  12. I don't see how it's possible to dual source. Sony has BSI-1 with their own unique feature set adn OVT has BSI-2 with theirs. How can you program for that without some serious real-estate? It's either Sony or OVT. I'm not so sure why Apple would choose Sony over OVT unless their product was better, cheaper and they had the production capabilities. According to Apple's recent earnings OVT sold them 75M CMOS. Sony's own image sensor CEO claimed they can not compete with OVT on price and volume. OVT's management claimed they have no yield issues, as stated by Paul Coster, JPM. This appears to be the same rumor floating around since the iPhone4 was rumored.

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