With digital cameras considered a mandatory feature in smartphones and now also available in the latest tablets, we have been watching the steady unit volume rise in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors. The reason for the favoring of CMOS as a technology is the lower power consumption and ASP, enabling devices to meet additional feature and price points demanded by consumers.
According to this iSuppli research report earlier this month, the market forecast for CMOS is very strong:
"CMOS image sensor shipments for DSCs [digital still cameras] will reach 71.1 million units, up from 30.7 million in 2010. Meanwhile, CCD [charge-coupled device] shipments will decline to 66.9 million in 2013, down from 94.1 million in 2010.
By 2014, more than 85 million DSC CMOS units will be shipping, compared to 51 million for CCD."
Coupling this forecast with one from IC Insights here, the CMOS sector is growing significantly. The multiple applications and devices utilizing this technology coupled with future demands for opto-electronics plus low power and price, lead IC Insights to forecast a CAGR of "11.2% in the next five years, reaching [US]$7.6 billion in 2015." Furthermore, this forecast bases these strong numbers in the increase adoption of CMOS image sensors for automotive, video surveillance, medical, and other consumer electronics (CE). Production capacity and CAPEX are presently in line with growth although, according to the same IC Insights report, "CMOS image sensor suppliers will need new high-volume applications to sustain double-digit annual growth rates in the next five years."
Finally, despite some of CMOS production being located in Japan, MEMS (which includes CMOS) appears to only have been slightly affected because TI, the major manufacturer for CMOS in Japan, was able to quickly shift production to other facilities, according to a recent report by IHS iSuppli and summarized here.