In the past 10 years, CMOS image sensor (CIS) application growth was steadily achieved by replacement of existing CCD products in the market place. Today, CIS is not only the dominant technology used in the entire spectrum of feature phones to the high end SLR camera sensors, but it is one that consistently delivers innovations that can satisfy future applications. It has enabled applications that wouldn’t have been dreamt of a few years ago. There are systems today that merge the functions of 2 or 3 different devices and the pace of innovation has not slowed – it is only accelerating.


In the largest market segment, mobile applications of smart phones, mobile phones, tablets, and portable electronics, CIS is now the dominant technology due to its advantage in low cost, in low power consumption, and its ability to add on-chip image signal processing integration. In some mobile applications, there is not only one camera, but there are often 2 – one main camera for taking pictures and a secondary camera for conference calls. In the notebook application, the evolution of the PC cam evolved into an integrated camera embedded into the bezel of the LCD screen in ever smaller form factors. Pixels in these applications have decreased in size in response to designers’ request to make notebooks even thinner.


In industrial applications, CIS is extensively used due to its excellent sensitivity and high frame rate. In the automotive and security applications, CIS extends its technical merits with its ability to customize to particular application for sensitivity in low-light conditions and in environments where there is requirement for sensors with high-dynamic range (dark and bright scenes). PC cams have evolved into products that have wireless WiFi embedded and are deployed as low-cost security cameras or baby cams for anxious parents. Another illustration of the wide adoption of these versatile CIS sensors is the use of PC cams in the after market automotive add-on for digital video recorders (DVRs). These boxes act as a car black box recording continuous videos and capturing the location of these scenes via integrated GPS chips.


SOI’s area sensors are designed to target the fastest growing segments in consumer electronics, industrial applications, automotive and security markets. We have the fundamental technology to evolve with the market and the understanding of what it takes to be a strong player in these markets.