Saturday, June 13, 2015

ON Semi-Aptina and Sony Think Alike

Sony patent application US20150156387 "Image sensor, image sensor operation method, and imaging apparatus" by Daisuke Miyakoshi proposes to split the continuous exposure into exposure on/off pieces to reduces flicker and jerkiness artifacts associated with short exposure times in bright light:

Aptina patent application US20150009375 "Imaging systems with dynamic shutter operation" by Gennadiy Agranov, Sergey Velichko, and John Ladd proposes, basically, a similar thing, albeit with no storage cap in the pixel:

While we are at Aptina, SeekingAlpha's ON Semi earnings call transcript for Q1 2015 praises its performance:

Keith D. Jackson - President, CEO and Director
In the automotive segment, our momentum in fast growing advanced driver assist systems market remains intact, and we continue to be market leader with approximately 70% share for image sensors for ADAS-related applications.

Q: John Pitzer - Credit Suisse
I was wondering if you could spend a little bit of time just talking about the competitive landscape for Aptina. I mean clearly the image sensor marketing in auto ADAS is an area of pretty strong strength, but we are getting some signals of sort of industry capacity going up on the image sensor front. How do we think about that relative to the competitive dynamics? And can you talk a little bit about sort of the capacity needs that you have for your own imaging sensor business?

A: Keith D. Jackson - President, CEO and Director
Well, there are two other very strong players both of which have very significant handset exposure and the capacity on the handset side remains I think a key area for expansion. As you look at the automotive, it’s more than just the ability to produce pixels. You have to have the entire package for the automotive wins, particularly in safety critical applications. And we think we continue to have an edge there with our many years of experience. Relative to capacity, we have been working to increase capacities both internally and with our external partners, and are very comfortable we can see very strong growth and share gains supported for our image sensors this year.

Q: Ian Ing - MKM Partners follow up for image sensors, could you talk about the implications of OmniVision getting acquired by a China entity, would that be a positive or a negative? Would that make the China business more competitive, perhaps favoring a local supplier?

A: Keith D. Jackson - President, CEO and Director
I think over time there can be some influence on the market from a favored China supplier. I think in the short term, there’s going to be lots of confusion and changing; some announced intension to change of manufacturing, et cetera. So we’re looking forward to some short-term opportunities. And then we’re just going to keep driving on the technology side so that our products basically will be favored and the local favoritism won’t matter.


  1. it's quite natural to think this way, but there are still several key issues:
    1. transfert noise should be very low, since the number of partial charge transfert should be large.
    2. this will not resolve all LED related problems and can create possible other problems.
    3. TX should be operated at high speed in order to keep total exposure time short enough for daytime
    4. how this can be mixed with HDR operation.
    etc ...

    1. I agree with your statements, and there are better ways to manage problems caused by the LED flicker. But so far I have not seen a perfect in-pixel ND filter emulation with no trade-offs of any kind.


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