All the selfies you take made Sony invest $345 million in its sensor business

July 23, 2014
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Ellen celebrity selfie at Oscars 2014

Sony is a shadow of its former self, but it still has a few strengths it can play, and its sensor business is one of the biggest. The Japanese company is the world’s largest maker of camera sensors, and, thanks to our collective obsession with selfies, Sony’s sensor business is set to grow even more.

Over the next two years, Sony is planning to invest 35 billion yen ($345 million) in opening two new factories in Japan and revamping a third one that it recently acquired from semiconductor maker Renesas.

The goal? To attract more business from smartphone makers, with a focus on the fast growing front-facing camera sensors segment.

Currently, rival Omnivision Technologies – the world’s second largest sensor maker – has the upper hand in the front-facing camera business, where cost, not high-end specs, matters the most. But Android phone makers increasingly use larger sensors for front-facing cameras, opening up a lucrative opportunity for Sony.

If you need convincing that selfies are driving the trend of nicer front-facing cameras, just open up your Facebook feed. But it’s just not self-portraits – we increasingly use our devices for video calling as well.

A wave of recent smartphones boast 5MP or higher front-facing cameras. These include the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7a, the Ascend P7 (which, Huawei boasts, can take “groufies”), the HTC One Mini 2, Sony’s own Xperia C3 (the self-dubbed “world’s best selfie phone”), and more. Just yesterday, Chinese prodigy Xiaomi upped the ante with an 8MP front-facing camera on the Mi 4. And it’s only a matter of time until the big boys jump on the bandwagon.

Would you prefer a higher resolution front-facing camera on your next phone?

Comments

  • Ivan Budiutama

    I (still) don’t understand about this obsession with selfie and people taking picture of their food too on that matter.

    Off topic: I read quite a lot about Android Tablet not being able to compete with iOS Tablet level of ecosystem, can someone explain which part? is it the number of apps (software, god dammit)? or iOS exclusive apps? I am planning on buying a tablet, Android or iOS? I preferred Android though, but the review about “not as good in ecosystem as iPads” makes me wonder a bit. O btw, I use Nexus 5, is Nexus 7 2014 will do good for me? or Nexus 10 is a better choice?

    • joseph carmine nero

      Yeah.i have a friend that bombs me with her food pics.I don’t understand why we should know that she ate a pizza slice?Can we say it’s a mental disorder?

    • MasterMuffin

      Everytime I (rarely) check my FB feed, I always get the feeling that I want to delete my account. Or delete 90% of my friends. It’s a horrible place these days!

      Just get Android if you prefer Android. Things aren’t as bad as they used to be :) iOS still has more tablet optimized apps, but it doesn’t matter that much for most. And I’d say Nexus 7 is better thanks to better specs, but if you want 10″ then Nexus 10 of course :)

    • thomas sim

      I believed ecosystem as in not all Android apps that could run on tablet are properly optimized for tablet.
      If your not in rush for tablet, wait for HTC made Nexus 8 tablet aka Volantis, coming soon hopefully in one or two months.

    • edgar

      I bought the iPad Mini, went from nexus 7 2012 to a 2013, then my iPad mini. I am not sure what people are talking about. The Android ecosystem is just as big and great I see no difference. Honestly at this point is strictly preference.

      Owner of iPad mini, Surface 2, Samsung Galax S5.

  • Ruz

    What is required the most in front facing camera is wider picture capture mode… so wider lens makes more sense with quality.. megapixel is not that much important here but the picture quality is topmost

  • steve

    All they really need is add a front facing camera with 8mp and a flash, problem solved…..

  • darwisbong

    selfie ? what kind obsession of this , take a picture , share on fb, twitter LOL
    jam tangan pria