Sony working continuously to make image sensors, but still can't keep up with demand

Sony, the dominant mobile camera lens maker, has difficulties making enough to meet the demand of its customers.

Terushi Shimizu, the head of Sony's semiconductor unit, revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that the company is running its chip factories constantly through the holidays for the second consecutive year to try and keep up with the demand of its mobile image sensors.

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 apologise to customers because we just can't make enough.

With most smartphones this year having at least two rear camera lenses, Sony's sales of mobile image sensors continue to soar despite the slowing global smartphone market.

Based on data provided in May, Sony controls 51 per cent of the image sensor market by revenue and this is expected to grow to 60 per cent by fiscal 2025.

Shimizu expects time-of-flight (ToF), a new generation of sensors to take off in 2020. He states that the company is ready to meet what it expects will be a huge spike in demand next year.

ToF sensors send out invisible laser pulses to measure how long they take to bounce to create detailed depth models. This is essential for portrait photography, mobile gaming, hand gesture and facial motion capture applications. Apple is said to be introducing 3D rear camera sensors to the iPad and iPhone next year.

This article was first published in Hardware Zone.