Sony has already sold off its Vaio laptop division and back in January there were rumours of Sony planning to sell off its smartphone division as well. But there is one industry where it is leading from the front – imaging sensors.
While Sony’s camera market share is behind its Japanese rivals Canon and Nikon, the company is still making a lot of profits from the sale of image sensors to smartphone as well as camera makers says the Wall Street Journal. According to a market research estimate, in 2014 Sony made around 40.2 per cent of all image sensors. This number is far higher than any of its rivals in this segment.
Sony is followed by Omnivision which has a 15.7 per cent share and Samsung which has 15.2 per cent. All other image sensor makers combined account for 28.9 per cent share.
From Apple’s iPhones to Samsung’s Galaxy flagships to other players including Xiaomi, Motorola and so on, Sony also makes sensors for camera giant Nikon. With the iPhone 6 for instance, Sony charges Apple $20 per sensor and considering the massive sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, naturally the revenues for Sony also increase. That is just one smartphone company we are talking about. Samsung, which makes its own application chipsets as well as image sensors, still uses Sony’s image sensors in its flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Plus models.
The image sensor business of Sony has naturally got a higher priority over other consumer electronics business divisions. According to a Bloomberg report, Sony is reportedly investing 45 billion yen to expand its sensor manufacturing facilities in Nagasaki and Yamagata in Japan.
Apple has recently bought an Israel-based camera technology company, so it remains to be seen if Apple will continue using Sony image sensors for its future iPhone variants.
Posted by : Gizmeon