Diversification of Camera Modules Comes Into Play

Article By : Yole Développement

The camera module market is expanding at an incredible pace. Yole expect the volume of global camera module shipments to expand from 5.5 billion units in 2019 to 8.9 billion in 2025, at 8.2% CAGR...

The camera module market is expanding at an incredible pace. At Yole Développement (Yole), we expect the volume of global camera module shipments to expand from 5.5 billion units in 2019 to 8.9 billion in 2025, at 8.2% CAGR”, asserts Richard Liu, Technology and Market Analyst, Photonics and Sensing at Yole.“

According to Yole’s latest CMOS Camera Module Industry for Consumer & Automotive 2020 report, the desire to capture the perfect picture used to be accomplished through complex and expensive DSLR cameras and the use of interchangeable lens systems. The multiple lens possibility has therefore been the cornerstone in the pursuit of extreme imaging performance. Today’s mobile cameras follow a similar mindset but using multiple fixed lenses to improve photography performance. Quickly adopted by large manufacturers, this trend led to 17.3% year-over-year growth in 2019.

Mobile multi-cameras started in early stage 2015-2016, moving from single to dual cameras, then maturing to triple in 2018 and 2019. Now they have moved toward quad in 2020. Diverse modules implement diverse levels of zoom or wide angle capability. This diversity is enriched by sensing camera modules. This is the case for front tructured light for 3D facial recognition, the rear Time of Flight (ToF) for Augmented Reality (AR) applications, and the optical fingerprint module placed under the screen.

In parallel, System Plus Consulting’s analysts release a report dedicated to Samsung’s technical choices for its wild collection of smartphones: Smartphone Camera Module Comparison 2020 Vol 2: Focus on Samsung. Indeed, this report includes a complete technology and cost analysis of the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra, and gives detailed technical information about the cameras, such as module surface, camera volume, number and type of lenses, resolution, pixel size and CIS technology node. Moreover, this study delivers a summary of the other Samsung smartphone series, including the Galaxy Notes, Galaxy A series, Samsung Fold and Galaxy J.

According to this report, the present state-of-the-art of CMOS technology provides better resolution and smaller pixels, low power consumption and cost improvements. In this context, Samsung is a major player among CIS manufacturers and high-end smartphone suppliers. Moreover, in recent years, we observed that Samsung has rolled-out multi-camera smartphones. Its technical choices are not always linear, showing Samsung is not afraid to innovate and test different solutions to enhance smartphone’s photography. to lift. For the consumer market, microLED remains an outsider for the time being.

In the automotive market the trend is to massively adopt rear cameras and Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) forward cameras. The average number of cameras per car goes up because of the need for new applications, such as the 360 degree view, in cabins and e-mirrors. Again in this market the diversity in camera design is very high.

In the consumer electronics field, vision is an important element of smart products, assistant personal robotics and consumer drones. These new applications will increase the demand for cameras, and drive the camera module market even higher in the years to come.YDR20105-2019-2025 CMOS camera module market forecast by component

Camera module technology is diversifying and is bringing key opportunities to phone makers

According to Pierre Cambou, Principal Analyst in the Photonic and Display Division at Yole: “In the mobile world, smartphone OEMs are in fierce competition to add camera functions and improve camera performance with increasing pixel resolution upgrades, combined with multiple-camera designs. The competition for the supply of high-quality CIS exceeded the worldwide capacity at the end of 2019, resulting in shortages and price hikes. While the recent pandemic tamed global economics, the camera module industry is expected to maintain double digit growth for the next five years”.

According to System Plus Consulting, in the Smartphone Camera Module Comparison 2020 Vol 2: Focus on Samsung report: the present state-of-the-art of CMOS technology provides better resolution and smaller pixels, low power consumption and cost improvements. In this context, Samsung is a major player among CIS manufacturers and highend smartphone suppliers. Moreover, in recent years, we observed that Samsung has rolled-out multi-camera smartphones. Its technical choices are not always linear, showing Samsung is not afraid to innovate and test different solutions to enhance smartphone’s photography.

Yole Développement expects the revenue of the global camera module market to expand from $31.3B in 2019 to $57.0B in 2025, at 12.8% CAGR.

Beyond the sensor itself, innovations in all the different subcomponents of the camera module are in high demand. The introduction of periscope lenses was a major event that allowed 5x or even 10x optical magnification within the existing thickness of mobile phones. Optical image stabilization (OIS) is another critical technology for photography especially for telephoto, hence players are also looking for innovations in this area, using new materials, MEMS or liquid lens to replace the Voice Coil Motor (VCM) approach.

Thanks to the additional techniques and innovation, camera modules are increasing in value significantly over the years. Technical upgrades of camera modules include the “Active Alignment” process to align multiple cameras well. There will be several innovations in camera module integration, like pop-up cameras or side-up cameras, and under-screen cameras in future. These innovations will integrate different materials from various sources, which should provide a great deal of opportunity to the market and facilitate the application of camera modules to more new products.

YDR20105-Flagship smartphone-configuration scenarioMarket growth benefiting the leaders but also offering opportunities to second tier players

Camera modules are very precise optoelectronic components, which contains image sensors, lens sets, actuators and assemblies. They have become key components of the mobile industry, expanding into a rich ecosystem that has grown and matured after more than twenty years of development. It is currently enjoying a boom in demand, which is benefiting almost all players.

The industry leader LG Innotek continues to maintain its position due to the large orders from Apple. Closing in are Ofilm and Sunny Optical, who have climbed to the second and third positions by relying on the strong domestic market in China, replacing Semco and Foxconn/Sharp. In the years to come the US-China trade war could play a big role in reorganizing the ranking of Compact Camera Module (CCM) players.

Image sensor providers used to push their technology to market at their own pace, shrinking pixels and increasing resolution. But with current trends mobile phone OEMs are now more aggressively developing specific image sensors with unique features. The rankings of the top three, Sony, Samsung, and OmniVision, is now well established. Lenses are another area where there are a few players at the top, Largan and Sunny Optical, making up most of the market. Other components, such as actuators for autofocus (AF)/OIS and drivers, infrared-cut filters, substrates and connectors have benefited as the industry has reached new heights.

The car camera application has just entered its growth stage and has become a broad market with surround-view, ADAS and in-cabin applications. It has now attracted traditional tier one auto part manufacturers to enter, as well as many leading players of the mobile camera ecosystem. Sony, Ofilm and Sunny Optical are all vying to enter this market as tier two part manufacturers.

YDR20105-2019 camera module ecosytem-main players of the camera module industry

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