In recent years, the Xperia series of smart phones has been a shame in the mobile device market, despite Sony’s efforts to promote lock-free and non-bundled SIM devices. On the other hand, whether you bought an iPhone or an Android smartphone, how much of it won’t get around the camera sensors in the company’s semiconductor division. In the control of the supply chain, Samsung is the industry leader, because it runs through the display panels, storage, batteries and other business.
(Pictured: Sony, via Slash Gear)
The good news is that, at least in the field of camera sensors, Sony is well worth it. Although each vendor has its own software optimization solution, most of the core components come from Sony’s production line.
With the explosive growth in the number of cameras on individual devices, this has created new challenges for Sony’s production capacity, even as the company has had to continue to run its production line during the holiday season.
Even so, it is difficult to meet the strong demand from the company’s customers, Terushi Shimizu, head of the department, told Bloomberg.
In terms of profitability, the semiconductor business is also second only to PlayStation, which contributes up to 86% of Sony’s revenue.
With this in mind, the company plans to build a new plant in Nagasaki, Japan, but will not be able to produce the sensors until April 2021. Capital spending before that will be more than twice as much as this fiscal year.
In addition to traditionally superior camera sensors, Sony is also actively developing new types, such as the popular Flight Time (ToF) sensor, which has been popular in recent years. It uses laser reflections to learn 3D scene information to create a depth map of the area.
As technology continues to evolve, it is expected to play a more important role in the future, such as allowing App developers to overlay digital graphics with the real world.
There are reports that Apple is preparing a new iPhone model with ToF functionality and is expected to arrive in the second half of 2020. In addition, the same sensor technology could be used in augmented reality (AR) headsets, such as the long-rumoured Apple Smart Glasses.
Previously, manufacturers have been working on the number of pixels in camera sensors. But now, more attention has been paid to imaging quality and features, such as mixed optical zoom and computational photography.
Interestingly, the legendary Samsung Galaxy S11 will once again set off a pixel battle for the flagship smartphone, which is expected to feature a 108-megapixel camera.
Finally, Sony last month set up a new global AI division to explore ways to improve different business areas through machine learning, neural networks and other technologies, with the sensor and imaging sectors clearly benefiting the most.