Apple is the most valuable company on earth. Its enormous success in the past five years is at least partly attributable to the speed at which the markets for Apple’s latest signature products, the iPhone and iPad, have grown. Despite a recession, we have seen astounding growth of the smartphone and tablet computer markets over the past five years.
Although overall sales of mobile phones are slightly down (2%) as of May, smartphone sales are up. Gartner estimated that smartphone sales for Q1 2012 hit 144 million globally and accounted for 34% of all mobile devices sold for the year (TechCrunch). In all, IDC says that the smartphone market grew 42.5% year over year in the first quarter of 2012 and Samsung recently overtook Apple as the leader in smartphone sales.
Global sales of smartphones and tablet computers are expected to increase exponentially in coming years. According to one forecast, over 1 billion smartphones will be sold worldwide in 2016 (Statista), and another predicts that over 1.5 billion will be sold in the same year (Business Insider). Similarly, tablet computer sales are expected to more than triple by 2016 to reach nearly 400 million (TechCrunch).
What does all of this mean for us? In terms of camera modules, smartphones and tablets increasingly have two – one facing each direction. No matter which report you read, you will find a unanimous opinion that sales of these devices are on the rise, which leads to an increasing demand for sophisticated technologies.
A typical consumer will expect particularly high quality mobile camera performance at this stage of the game in smartphone development. The camera has become a highly touted and frequently used feature of every smartphone – taking photos is ranked second behind texting by consumers as their most frequent use of smartphone technology (Mashable).
The value of an excellent camera is evident in the recently announced the Nokia 808 PureView, which boasts a 41-megapixel camera, the highest resolution camera phone ever made; it is currently in pre-sale on Amazon, set for release on July 8th. Since smartphones are the all-in-one device replacing the numerous technologies people rely upon daily (mobile phone, MP3 player, camera, GPS, and more), it is worthwhile for a consumer to purchase a high quality device and makers of smartphones must plan accordingly.
How does a smartphone manufacturer ensure that its cameras are of the highest standards and will garner consistently high marks from reviewers and consumers? It employs an active alignment system to assemble its camera modules, achieving the most accurate focus across the image sensor by aligning the lens in up to six degrees of freedom. Active alignment is a sophisticated solution that doesn’t have to cost more than a screw-in lens. Kasalis strives to price our systems so that per module costs are on par with traditional alignment methods, thereby pushing active alignment to be the new norm. We believe that the swift adoption of smartphones and tablets will fuel a demand for higher quality camera modules, thus creating a new high standard in camera module performance.