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Sony ploughs money into image sensors for smartphones

Sony is planning a large chunk of investment to up its production capacity when it comes to image sensors, which has been a strong area for the company of late.

Sony will invest 105 billion yen (£590 million) in the move, which will up its wafer production at three CMOS image sensor producing plants over in Japan (in Nagasaki, Yamagata and Kumamoto, the latter being pictured above) from 60,000 to 80,000 wafers per month. That increase of a third will be realised come June 2016, and will help meet increased demand for the sensors which are used in smartphone (and tablet) cameras.

Previously the plan was to hit 75,000 wafers per month in this timeframe, but that number will be exceeded ahead of schedule, Sony boasted.

The company’s plans were revealed in a statement spotted by IB Times, in which Sony said: “Demand for these image sensors is anticipated to further increase, particularly within the expanding market for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Sony is striving to bolster its production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors and further strengthen its integrated supply operations in order to reinforce its leading position in the image sensor market.”

Sony also announced it is to cease operations at the Sony Semiconductor Oita TEC, where development and production of high-density semiconductors such as LSIs (used in video game consoles) takes place, by the close of March next year. Other Sony sites will take over some of Oita TEC’s operations, and the 220 staff employed at the centre will be relocated to those sites, or transferred to the production of image sensors.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.