Communications - Mobile Handheld Devices Application IC
The Worldwide Mobile Phone Camera Module Market and Taiwan's Industry, 2012 and Beyond
December 30, 2011 / Nina Ko
14 Page, Topical Report
US$1,280 (Single User License)

Abstract

Bolstered by the increasing shipment growth of Smartphones and the rising penetration of mobile phone camera modules and sub cameras, it is anticipated that mobile phone camera module shipments will continue to grow steadily in 2012; the Taiwanese mobile phone camera module industry will also witness year-on-year growth but at a slower rate as the industry is near maturity, and the industry's major customers have lackluster performances. This report profiles the current development of the worldwide mobile phone camera module market and Taiwan's industry and provides insight into the future trends of mobile phone camera modules in 2012 and onward.
  •  Table of Contents
  •  List of Topics
  •  List of Figures

MIC Perspective

Increasing Sub Cameras Penetration Boosts Worldwide Mobile Phone Camera Module Shipments

In 2011, worldwide mobile phone shipment growth slowed down, thereby affecting worldwide mobile phone camera module shipments as well. Nevertheless, driven by the increasing adoption of mobile phone camera modules and sub cameras, shipment volume of the worldwide mobile phone camera modules still managed to score approximately 1.725 billion units in 2011, up 18.1% year-on-year. Bolstered by the rising adoption of sub cameras, shipment volume of the worldwide mobile phone camera modules is forecasted to continue growth momentum, reaching around 2.09 billion units in 2012, up 21.1% compared to 2011.

With strong sales of 3G mobile phones and the popularity of iPhone, user demand for mobile video streamlining grows, thereby stimulating the adoption of sub cameras. In addition, with the price of camera modules falling, shipment share of camera modules with a sub camera inched up to 26.6% in 2011. It is anticipated that the share will climb to 34.3% in 2012; in the same year, shipment volume of sub cameras will arrive at around 610 million units, accounting for 29.2% of overall camera module shipments.

Taiwanese Mobile Phone Camera Module Industry Seeing Specification Enhancement

Shipment share of Smartphones in overall mobile phone industry grew from 20.1% in 2010 to 28.6% in 2011. Looking ahead, thanks to falling production costs of hardware components and application development driven by the popularization of 3G services, shipment share of Smartphones is anticipated to hit 36% in 2012.

Upheld by strong sales performance of Smartphones and specification advancement of camera modules, shipment share of 5MP and higher resolution products climbed from 21.6% to 34.4% in 2011. High-end Smartphones usually feature an 8MP camera module. Therefore, it is forecasted that shipment share of 8MP camera modules will reach 8.3% in 2012. 5MP camera modules are the shipment mainstream for Taiwanese makers and thanks to shipments of mid-range models, shipment share of 5MP ones is anticipated to maintain around 33.4% in 2012. 3MP ones are mainly used in entry-level Smartphones targeting at the emerging markets, with its shipment share projected to rise to 18.6% in 2012. Camera modules are observed to have a tendency for continuous improvement in the development of specs.

Camera Module Suppliers Focus on Advance Process to Tap Demand for Slim and Lightweight Mobile Phones

Demand for slim and lightweight mobile phones pushed camera module suppliers to pursue advance process in a bid to lower heights of camera modules, and WLM and EDoF technologies were developed as a result.

WLM utilizes wafer-level manufacturing technology. Reflow compatible materials are used to build the lens and main circuit board can be installed without connecting to the circuit board during camera module assembly. Therefore, a camera module can be installed by using reflow soldering process. The simplified assembly process requires considerably less materials and costs. Even though advantages of WLM include small sizes, reflow-compatible, and low costs, no 3MP and higher resolution products using WLM are currently being mass manufactured, and whether 3MP or high resolution products are capable of producing good yields and high image quality remains to be seen.

By applying EDoF technology, as the technology uses software programs to enable autofocus, no VCM needed to be installed on camera modules. Even though EDoF technology brings cost advantages, when shifting to EDoF, makers will have to re-design upstream modules and image sensors. As a result, branded vendors' design schedules of new models are likely to be delayed, so it seems that the EDoF technology will unlikely become market mainstream in the short term.

With competitive advantages including cost control and good image quality, COB is currently the mainstream packaging process for camera modules. Taiwanese camera module makers who used to support CSP have begun adopting COB process. Before any autofocus solutions are released for WLM, mass production of 3MP and higher resolution products will still be a challenge when using WLM. Nevertheless, it is still projected that COB process will be the mainstream in the future.


Appendix

Glossary of Terms

BSI

 

Back-side Illumination

CIS

 

Panagia Chrisoskalitissa

CMOS

 

Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

COB

 

Chip on Board

CSP

 

Chip Scale Package

EDoF

 

Extended-Depth-of-Field

FSI

 

Front-side Illumination

HD

 

High Definition

LCD

 

Liquid Crystal Display

TSV

 

Through-Silicon Via

VCM

 

Voice Coil Motor

VGA

 

Video Graphic Array

WLM

 

Wafer Level Camera Module


List of Companies

Foxconn

 

鴻海

HTC

 

宏達電

LG

   

Lite-On

 

光寶

Motorola

   

Nokia

   

OmniVision

   

Primax Electronics

 

致伸

Samsung

   

Sony

   


 

 

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