Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New iSuppli Market Data

Digitimes: Mobile phones have emerged as the single largest market for image sensors, surpassing the entire consumer electronics segment to become the main application for both charge-coupled device (CCD) and CMOS image sensors, according to iSuppli.

Revenue from shipments of image sensors for mobile phones will grow to US$5.9 billion by 2010, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.4%, up from US$1.7 billion in 2005. Unit shipments of image sensors to mobile phones will grow to 1.2 billion by 2010, increasing at a CAGR of 19.7%, up from 484 million units in 2005.

In 2005, 199 million image sensors were sold for all other applications outside of mobile phones, including digital still cameras. By 2010, this disparity will grow more, with nearly 1.2 billion sensors shipped for mobile handsets and slightly less than 350 million shipped for other applications.

Although cameras have become standard on most mobile phones, studies suggest that actual usage remains much lower, with less than 10% of consumers actually using the device as their primary image capture device. Digital still cameras remain the device of choice for capturing images digitally mainly because of the lower image quality in mobile handsets, drawbacks in form factors and ease of operation in mobile phones and difficulties and sometimes the cost of transferring photos from a user's phone to another device, such as a PC.

These challenges are exacerbated by two other factors: marketing from digital still camera manufacturers and user experiences.

In the first case, camera makers have successfully trained consumers into thinking they need more megapixels than they actually require.

The second factor is the difficulties users face with phone cameras when trying to perform common photography tasks like printing, cropping and zooming. Cameras generally need between four and five megapixels to support these tasks. However, users may have to get accustomed to low-resolution camera phone pictures because at the current rate of advancement, the average camera phone will not reach the four to five megapixel level range until 2010.

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