Sony Invests Nearly A Billion Dollars In CMOS Image Sensor Production - HotHardware
Sony Invests Nearly A Billion Dollars In CMOS Image Sensor Production

Sony Invests Nearly A Billion Dollars In CMOS Image Sensor Production

Image sensors were important a decade ago. Today, their importance can't be stated enough. Every smartphone on the market is judged on its camera, and some phones (like the iPhone 4S and the Nokia 808 PureView) highlight the camera over most other features. This week, Sony announced that it plans to invest in Sony Semiconductor Corporation's Nagasaki Technology Center from the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 through the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. Why? Simple, to increase the production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors.

Sony has become a major player in the camera realm, from mirrorless options to DSLRs to components for cameraphones. The company is dropping nearly a billion dollars to make it happen. With this development, Sony plans to increase total production capacity for CCD and CMOS image sensors to approximately 60,000 wafers per month by the end of September 2013. In a world where TV profits are sinking, it's interesting to see Sony investing here. Perhaps it sees a bright future for optics, and if it can get into legions of future smartphones, maybe it's a wise move.

Sony increases production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors


- Increasing total production capacity for image sensors to approximately 60,000 wafers per month to supply image sensors mainly for smartphones -

June 22, 2012, Tokyo, Japan – Sony Corporation ("Sony") today announced that it plans to invest in Sony Semiconductor Corporation's Nagasaki Technology Center ("Nagasaki TEC") from the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 through the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, to increase the production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors.*1

This investment is intended to provide for new wafer processing equipment for stacked CMOS image sensors, and to increase and transform wafer lines capable of manufacturing CMOS image sensors.

With this development, Sony plans to increase total production capacity for CCD and CMOS image sensors to approximately 60,000 wafers per month by the end of September 2013.*

In light of the rapidly expanding demand for smartphones and tablets, Sony plans to continue to solidify its leading global position in CMOS image sensors by strengthening its production capabilities for stacked CMOS image sensors, which provide greater performance in a more compact form. Furthermore, Sony intends to accelerate its growth strategy by incorporating superior core technologies, including stacked CMOS image sensors, into a wide range of products for its digital imaging and mobile businesses, which are priorities within its electronics business.

The investment amount is approximately 80 billion yen, of which, the amount to be invested in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 (approximately 45 billion yen) was included in the forecast of the capital expenditures for semiconductors in the current fiscal year announced at the annual earnings release on May 10, 2012. In addition, Sony will utilize a governmental subsidy in its investment plan which will be provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan, through the "Subsidy for Domestic Location Promotion Projects" program.

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Smart move. Cameras, and what goes into making them will be around for a long time.

I like the looks of the camera pictured above.

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