Himax Updates on 3D Imaging, CIS Business
"Himax has participated in most of the smartphone OEMs’ ongoing 3D sensing projects covering all three types of technologies, namely structured light, active stereo camera (ASC) and time-of-flight, where it provides 3D sensing total solution, or just the projector or optics inside the module, depending on the customers’ needs. By offering either the projector or critical optics, Himax has been collaborating with a small handful of smartphone names that have in-house capability to come up with their own customized 3D sensing solutions. Himax already has one such end customer using its technology for mass production with two more in the pipeline targeting 2019 product launch.
For most Android smartphone makers who don’t have such in-house capability, however, the Company aims to provide total solution to enable their 3D sensing. At present, the 3D sensing adoption for this market remains low. The adoption is hindered primarily by the prevailing high hardware cost of 3D sensing and the long development lead time required for 3D sensing to integrate it into the smartphone and the lack of killer applications. Instead of 3D sensing, most of the Android phone makers have chosen the lower cost finger print technology which can achieve similar phone unlock and online payment functions with somewhat compromised user experience.
Reacting to their lukewarm response, Himax is working on the next generation 3D sensing with an aim to leapfrog the market by providing high performance, easy to adopt and yet cost friendly total solutions, targeting most of the Android smartphone players. In addition, Himax is providing 3D sensing developer kit which is being used to develop applications over both smartphone and non-smartphone platforms. Himax believes that 3D sensing will be widely used by more Android smartphone makers when the ecosystem is able to substantially lower the cost of adoption while offering easy-to-use, fully-integrated total solutions, for which Himax is playing a key part.
The Company has mentioned previously that 3D sensing can have a wide range of applications beyond smartphone. While smartphone remains its top priority, the Company has started to explore business opportunities in various industries by leveraging its SLiM 3D sensing total solution. Such industries are typically less sensitive to cost and always require a total solution. Himax recently announced collaboration with Kneron, an industry leader in edge-based artificial intelligence, to develop an AI-enabled 3D sensing security and surveillance solution is just an example of real world applications using its 3D sensing technology.
On CMOS image sensor business updates, Himax continues to make great progress with its two machine vision sensor product lines, namely, near infrared (“NIR”) sensor and Always-on-Sensor (“AoS”). NIR sensor is a critical part for both of the Company’s structured light and ASC 3D sensing total solutions. On the AoS product line, the joint offering of Emza and Himax technologies uniquely positions the Company to provide ultra-low power, smart imaging sensing total solutions, leveraging Himax’s industry leading super low power CIS and ASIC designs and Emza’s unique AI-based computer vision algorithm. The Company is pleased with the status of engagement with leading players in areas such as connected home, smart building and security, all of which new frontiers for Himax."