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Evolution of Mobile Telepresence Applications

The 2006 image sensor market saw strong growth, due primarily to one application -- camera phones, according to the latest In-Stat market study.

In 2006, image sensors for camera phones comprised over three-quarters of all image sensors shipped, the high-tech market research firm says. Fueled by camera phones, CMOS sensors dominated CCDs in units shipped in 2006.

"CMOS also made inroads into digital still cameras and camcorders in 2006, two markets that traditionally have been dominated by CCDs," says Brian O'Rourke, In-Stat analyst.

CCDs continued to dominate the point-and-shoot sweet spot of the camera market. However, the rapidly growing digital single lens reflex (DSLR) market has been transitioning to CMOS sensors, led by Canon, which exclusively uses its own CMOS sensors.

I believe that continued advances with image sensor technology will cause the evolution of all digital photography and videography applications -- in particular, the mobility of Telepresence via wireless broadband connectivity.

The addition of image sensors to notebook computers, Pocket PCs and Smartphones has enabled some early-adopters to experiment with creative new applications -- beyond the relatively simplistic notion of a typical webcam user.

Visual communication and personal narrowcasting scenarios will eventually move into the realm of mainstream users, and thereby produce numerous emerging consumer and enterprise applications. I believe that ease-of-use enhancements will be the likely key that opens the door to broader market adoption.

The launch of PocketCaster from ComVu Media and the Kyte platform are two noteworthy developments that provide impromptu telepresence-like tools for consumers that could seed the market with applications and create increased awareness for the more advanced enterprise systems.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- CMOS sensors held nearly an 80 percent share of image sensor shipments in 2006.

- CCD sensors remain strong in digital still cameras, security cameras, and camcorders.

- Dual-camera phones are in high demand among 3G wireless subscribers in Asia and Europe.

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