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Camera phones get a leg up thanks to embedded imaging

Posted: 19 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded imaging? digital camera? smartphone? IC industry?

According to the latest data from IC Insights camera phones with 3MP or greater image sensors were outselling stand-alone digital still cameras by a 6:1 ratio this year. It took digital cameras less than 10 years to take film photography out of the consumer market and almost as quickly, camera-equipped cell phones have been central in ending the meteoric rise of stand-alone digital cameras.

With camera phones proliferating and making it easy to instantly share digital photos over the Internet or share as attachments to transmissions, annual revenues for stand-alone digital cameras have been on the decline since 2007. Worldwide unit shipments of digital still cameras, which peaked in 2011 at 142 million systems, are expected to decline three per cent in 2013 to 133 million after falling four per cent in 2012, IC Insights added.

The lack of digital camera growth has shifted a great deal of the IC industry's attention in digital imaging from stand-alone photography products to new applications and embedded systems such as enhanced machine vision for automotive safety and industrial equipment, intelligent video surveillance networks, medical imaging and small camera modules for smartphones, tablets and other portable devices. The total market value for digital cameras and imaging systems is expected to grow from $55.5 billion in 2012 to $77.8 billion in 2016. In doing so, this market will shift from being heavily dependent upon stand-alone cameras to being more evenly split across several end-use equipment segments.

Camera systems market

In the report, IC Insights forecasted that total shipments of digital cameras and embedded imaging systems will reach six billion units in 2016 compared to 2.5 billion in 2011, which represents a CAGR of 19 per cent in the five-year period.

IC revenues for embedded digital cameras and imaging systemsexcluding stand-alone camerasare expected to reach $24.6 billion in 2016 and grow by a CAGR of 16.2 per cent from $11.6 billion in 2011. In contrast, IC sales for stand-alone digital cameras are expected to remain nearly flat in the forecast period, slipping to $10.1 billion in 2016 compared to $10.3 billion in 2011, which is a CAGR decline of 0.6 per cent, according to the 2013 report.

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