Samsung, LG compete to secure camera sensors from Sony, Note 2 falls victim

September 8, 2012
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galaxy note 2 camera

Sony has been investing heavily in its CMOS production facilities, spurred by the huge demand for imaging sensors for mobile devices. Apparently, the billion dollars that the Japanese have been pouring into their Nagasaki factory hasn’t been enough to ramp up production to satisfy the high demand for its new 13MP CMOS image sensors.

According to a report from the Korean website DDaily, Samsung had initially planned to fit the newly launched Galaxy Note 2 with a 13MP image sensor supplied by Sony. The report explains some of the rumors about the Note 2 that circulated a few months ago, which eventually proved inaccurate. The Galaxy Note 2 is fitted with “just” an 8MP camera, identical with the one in Samsung’s other flagship, the Galaxy S3.

So, what prevented Samsung from carrying out its plans? It appears that Sony has been unable to satisfy the demand for 13MP sensors, which forced Sammy to settle on the safer 8MP solution.

That didn’t stop the other large phone maker in Korea, LG, from securing an order of 13MP sensors for its upcoming Optimus G. Was LG’s CMOS order the reason why Samsung was unable to get enough sensors for its Galaxy Note 2? Not likely.

LG estimates that it will sell a relatively small number of its Optimus G flagship – about 1 million according to an analyst quoted by DDaily. Samsung on the other hand, expects to push between 5 million and 10 million Galaxy Note 2, a figure that is perfectly feasible considering the success of the Galaxy S3 and the original Galaxy Note.

Most likely, Sony is simply unable to produce that many 13MP sensors right now. I expect however to see the new sensors integrated in Samsung next-generation devices, the Galaxy S4 and the Note 3.

Do you consider the 8MP camera on the Note 2 a letdown?

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