Report: Image sensor market nearing $7B

June 12, 2007 – The image sensor market is projected to grow 14% in 2007, following 30% growth in 2006 to roughly $6 billion, and will slow through the next several years, with many providers jostling for position, according to a report from Strategies Unlimited.

CMOS sensors dominate both unit and revenue share, thanks mainly to camera phones, and digital cameras also exceed expectations, the firm notes, adding that it expects strong growth in security cameras and digital radiography, while auto applications are still a small segment for now.

Micron is now the top supplier of CMOS arrays, with strong gains also enjoyed by STMicroelectronics and Samsung, the firm notes. CCDs are still increasing in dollar value, but there are signs of consolidation, notably the possible exit of Sanyo Electric.

Top five suppliers still hold about two-thirds of overall image sensor market share, with Sony and Micron each approaching $1 billion in annual revenues, though the top-5 names have changed. Strategies Unlimited notes that the 50 or so image sensor suppliers are about twice what the market supported a decade ago, though that number hasn’t changed in the past few years — suggesting that for every Atmel and ESS Technology that gets out of the image sensor business, there’s a Planet82 or a ProMOS Technologies that comes in to take their place.

Developments to watch for the image sensor market, according to Tom Hausken, director of components research at Strategies Unlimited, include 1.4-micron pitch pixels, incorporation of 90nm lithography, development of embedded laptop cameras, wider use of electronics to substitute for optics, and cameras based on optic flow.

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