Image-sensor market defies tech downturn

SEPTEMBER 4--Managing to avoid the pitfalls of other portions of the technology sector, the market for image sensors has continued to grow in the past year, according to In-Stat/MDR (Scottsdale, AZ; www.instat.com).

Sep 4th, 2002

SEPTEMBER 4--Managing to avoid the pitfalls of other portions of the technology sector, the market for image sensors (semiconductor devices that convert photons to electrons for display or storage) has continued to grow in the past year, according to In-Stat/MDR (Scottsdale, AZ; www.instat.com). The high-tech market-research firm reports that in 2001, nearly 109 million image sensors shipped, for total revenue of more than $1.2 billion.

"The image-sensor market continues to evolve," says Brian O'Rourke, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "In the past year, the market for CMOS image sensors has continued to grow in markets such as PC cameras, toys, and dual-mode cameras, and they're beginning to make headway in the digital still camera market, a stronghold of rival CCD technology. CMOS sensors should also capture the majority of the next big market for image sensors: mobile phone cameras." However, CCDs continue to retain the majority of the image sensor market. "Where customers expect the highest image quality, they will demand CCDs," says O'Rourke. "Their strength in applications ranging from digital still cameras to camcorders to scientific and medical cameras ensures that CCDs will remain a very profitable business for the foreseeable future."

In-Stat/MDR has found that in markets for linear image sensors, such as fax machines, scanners, and multifunction peripherals, CCDs have been challenged for several years by contact image sensors, a less-expensive, more-integrated solution. CMOS sensors are expected to begin to make an impact in linear markets in the next few years.

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