Jamie Fox, analyst in a recent IMS Research report, stated that LED-driver revenues from the mobile phone sector will increase by 50% by 2012 to $600 million. Mobile phones currently account for more revenues for LED drivers than any other sector.
Backlighting applications account for most of this. However these revenues will not grow in line with increasing shipments of handsets because of declining driver unit prices, increasing integration, and because of some market share being lost to OLEDs. The growth in this sector will instead come from the camera flash.
Mobile phones are now typically equipped with a 1-,2- or 3-Mega-Pixel camera, which now require a flash. The xenon flash units used in most digital cameras are simply too large to be integrated into today’s increasingly slim and trendy handsets. Instead, handset cameras use an LED flash, generally requiring a discrete driver. Many suppliers think that using a single driver to power both flash and backlighting will shortly become the preferred solution. These integrated drivers also offer good opportunities in this sector.