According to media reports, Samsung will officially enter the time of flight (Time of Flight, ToF) image sensor market, and will initially launch an offensive based on the smartphone market.
ToF mainly sends a light source to the object being photographed, and measures the recognition distance according to the return time of the light source. It can be applied to augmented reality, virtual reality, and also for facial recognition and other applications. In addition to mobile phones, it can also be used in wearable devices, household appliances and automobiles.
According to reports, Samsung has used TOF in the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S20 series of mobile phones, but has abandoned TOF in the Galaxy Note 20 series. Until recently released two of the iPhone 12 series products are equipped with TOF, it is expected to drive the growth of TOF applications.
Previously, in order to balance the business structure and achieve business diversification, as part of the plan to strengthen non-storage business, SK hynix launched its first TOF image sensor to the public. It consists of 10μm pixels and can provide QVGA (quarter video graphics array). ) Resolution.
SK Hynix has not disclosed the exact release date of its TOF image sensor because it is still in the development stage.
According to Korean media reports, SK Hynix has begun the necessary preparations to target the global image sensor market valued at 17.7 billion U.S. dollars (20 trillion won). It is reported that SK Hynix has established a research and development center in Japan to study image sensor technology, and has begun to focus on enhancing its competitiveness in image sensors. This year, the company has also restructured its image sensor product line for smartphone cameras, providing major smartphone manufacturers with sensors with increased pixel counts and reduced pixel sizes. Currently, it is developing sensors with higher pixel counts, such as 48MP and 64MP sensors.
TOF is a 3D sensing technology that measures the time it takes for the light signal emitted to the object to return, and is used to understand the distance, the size of the object and the spatial information. The sensor is used to identify the reflected light signal. SK Hynix said that with the increasing demand for 3D sensing in the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) era, it has developed a TOF image sensor. Because TOF can be used for 3D modeling and object length measurement, it can achieve more realistic and detailed AR and VR content.
With Apple actively using this sensor on iPad and iPhone, TOF image sensor is attracting industry attention. After the iPad Pro released earlier this year used the sensor for the first time, the sensor was also used in two models of the recently launched iPhone12Pro series. Apple calls the TOF image sensor "LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) Sensor".
Sony currently monopolizes the global TOF image sensor market. According to reports, it is the only supplier of Apple's TOF image sensor. In addition, companies such as Infineon and STMicroelectronics have also entered the global TOF image sensor market. Due to the multi-machine trend and market growth caused by 5G, autonomous vehicles, and IoT (Internet of Things), as well as increased demand for IoT, semiconductor companies may knock on the door of the global TOF sensor market.
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