Sony Can't Build Its Image Sensors Fast Enough [Report]

Sony Can't Build Its Image Sensors Fast Enough [Report]

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Sony is planning to run its chip factories 24/7 through the holidays to try and keep up with the demand for image sensors used in mobile phones, says Terushi Shimizu, the head of Sony’s semiconductor unit.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Sony will double its capital spending on the business to $2.6 billion this fiscal year and build a new plant in Nagasaki that will begin production in April 2021.

“Judging by the way things are going, even after all that investment in expanding capacity, it might still not be enough,” Shimizu said in an interview at the Tokyo headquarters. “We are having to apologize to customers because we just can’t make enough.”

Smartphone makers like Apple are relying on camera improvements to get customers to upgrade their devices each year. Additionally, photo quality is now driving competition between brands with each looking to better the other's advancements.

Sony is planning to increase monthly output capacity of image sensors to 138,000 wafers form 109,000 now. It will invest about $6.4 billion in the three-year period ending March 2021 to achieve this. Currently, the company controls 51% of the market but it's hoping to reach 60% share by fiscal 2025.

Key to its growth will be a new generation of sensors that see in three dimensions. These time of flight sensors send out invisible laser pulses and measure how long they take to bounce back. This creates a detailed depth model that helps produce better photos and enables new augmented reality features. On the front of the phone, TOF sensors allow for better hand gesture and facial motion capture.

Apple is rumored to be introducing a time of flight sensor in its next generation iPhone. When asked, Shimizu declined to comment on specific customers but said Sony is expects a significant increase in demand next year.

“This was the year zero for time of flight,” Shimizu said. “Once you start seeing interesting applications of this technology, it will motivate people to buy new phones.”

More details in the full report linked below!

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Sony Can't Build Its Image Sensors Fast Enough [Report]

prasadk_16 - December 25, 2019 at 7:52am
Relax, think of it like automobile industry. Initially cars were innovative then they become part of every day’s life, so manufacturers started producing them with little innovation to keep up demand. Then people started racing them, living in them etc etc, so manufacturer’s started producing even more with better engines. The point is camera is current progressive and competitive selling point for now. Hope the next one will be far better for mankind. 😊
PaulieP - December 25, 2019 at 3:51am
Got to keep up with all the millennial’s taking stupid photos on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and all that useless nonsense. It’s sad that people have to work through the holidays to keep up with the demand around the world of all the spoiled people who just want the newest best phone available to take more useless photos and use up more wasted digital space.
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