Although the new tube outbreak is still raging in several countries around the world, the mobile phone lens industry is still growing rapidly. Sales of image sensors (CIS) for smartphones have increased eightfold in the past decade to 4.5 billion in 2019 and are expected to reach $5 billion this year, according to a recent report by Counterpoint Research, an analytics firm. In the first quarter of 2020, four-camera smartphones accounted for 20 percent of global smartphone shipments, according to Counterpoint Research.
However, sales of CMOS image sensors (CIS) for smartphone applications have increased eightfold in the past decade to 4.5 billion in 2019 as a beneficiary of improved technology and feature sets. It is expected to reach 5 billion in 2020.
Commenting on the trend, Ethan Qi, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, said: “While strong growth may be weakening under the influence of the new crown, the smartphone CIS sector will continue to grow in 2020 due to the irreversible trend of multi-lens groups and 3D sensing systems, and its shipments will continue to grow at a record high of nearly 5 billion.” “
The smartphone industry continues to move towards multi-lens systems
According to The Component Tracker of Counterpoint, each smartphone delivered in the first quarter of 2020 is equipped with an average of more than 3.5 image sensors. The growth was driven by the rise in the popularity of four-camera designs in high-end and mid-range smartphones, which jumped to nearly 20 per cent during this period.
OPPO, Xiaomi and Samsung lead the four-way race
Specific to the brand, OPPO, Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung in the use of four-lens settings in the forefront, accounting for a total of all four-camera and five-camera mobile phones 83%. Realme is the most radical new brand to follow this trend. In the first quarter, two-thirds of its smartphone shipments were made with a four-lens system. OPPO’s four-camera phones account for more than half of its shipments. Xiaomi’s ratio is higher than the market average, while Samsung and Huawei have a larger product line, with low-end models flat lying at the ratio of their four-camera phones. In the quarter, smartphone shipments for the four-camera system were less than a third.
In the first quarter of 20, the proportion of mobile phones from each manufacturer
“As photography has become a key factor in smartphone differentiation, we expect quadcamerals to become the standard for moving forward,” said Tom Kang, research director. Leading smartphone brands will continue to enrich the photography and video shooting experience and explore AR applications by leveraging a diverse lens and sensor portfolio, as well as enhanced AI computing power. “
At the same time, new technologies will continue to emerge to reduce costs. For example, Immervision, a Canadian company specializing in wide-angle optics and image processing algorithms, is developing an innovative wide-angle design that shares photosensitive elements with the main camera for panoramic functionality.