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Digital still cameras and the cameras found in camera phones are based on different technologies. Now one outsells the other.

It had to happen, eventually. There are now more camera’s being sold in mobile phones than dedicated single use digital still cameras.

The Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor shipments used in phones have now surpassed Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs) used in digital cameras according to market research firm In-Stat. This shift was the result of the exploding camera phone market, with shipments more than doubling from 2003 to 2004, the high-tech market research firm says.

“Camera phones have been the largest single application for image sensors since 2003,” says Brian O’Rourke, In-Stat analyst. “And what was once a high-end product for the Japanese market has become a worldwide phenomenon.”

While CMOS has surpassed CCDs the latter still maintain a substantial market share in many camera applications, including mainstream digital still cameras, security cameras, and camcorders. But the CMOS sensors are beginning to gain a foothold in other camera markets as well, including low-end digital still cameras and Web cameras.

However, their lower price also spells lower revenues for manufacturers and In-Stat believes CMOS revenues will be less than CCD revenues this year.


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