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Personal Video Communication Apps in Mobile Devices

Applications for digital imagery are experiencing exponential growth. Image sensors are now being integrated into all sorts of consumer electronics (CE) devices. As personal video communication becomes more commonplace, many mobile devices -- such as smartphones and media tablets -- will now include two sensors (one on the front and back of the device).

The Camera Serial Interface (CSI) is a serial interface between a digital camera module and mobile device platform. Adopting a set of standard hardware interfaces will help to produce peripheral hardware products from multiple vendors which work seamlessly with numerous integrated circuit processor and system-on-a-chip products.

MIPI Alliance (a non-profit corporation) efforts have led to strong MIPI CSI-2 interest, across all computing and consumer electronic devices with an image sensor. According to the latest market study by In-Stat, they have forecast that the overall CSI total addressable market (TAM) will surpass $3.5 billion in 2016.

"MIPI specifications address only the interface technology, such as signaling characteristics and protocols," says Jim McGregor, Chief Technology Strategist.

MIPI specifications do not standardize entire application processors or peripherals. MIPI's objective is in seeking to create standards for these products to communicate with each other. By enabling products which share common MIPI interfaces, system integration is likely to be less burdensome than in the past.

In-Stat's latest market study findings include:
  • CSI-2 penetration to surpass 70 percent in computing and consumer electronic devices with image sensors by 2016.
  • Applications that directly manipulate image sensor data are forcing a migration of many devices away from using image sensors with integrated image signal processors (ISPs).
  • Smartphones and handsets will account for the largest percentage and highest growth rate of CSI-2 and CSI-3 penetration.
  • Game consoles are expected to be the primary use of image sensors (and cameras) in the living room.
  • In-Stat expects over 225 million tablet PC image sensors to ship in 2016, with MIPI CSI-3 representing about 20 percent of these, and MIPI CSI-2 representing 80 percent.

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