Sony is increasing the production of next-generation 3D sensor chips after acquiring customer interest especially from Apple. Satoshi Yoshihara, head of Sony’s sensor division, said the chips will be used in front-end 3D cameras from a number of smartphone makers in 2019, and Sony will begin mass production in late summer to meet demand. Yoshihara has refused to disclose sales or production targets, but said the 3D sensor business has begun to make a profit and will have a positive impact on the current fiscal year earnings beginning in April.
Sony’s optimistic outlook for 3D sensor chips also provides much-needed optimism for the global smartphone industry. The global smartphone industry is slowing due to fewer reasons for consumers to upgrade their equipment. The Tokyo-based company has begun offering software kits to external developers to test the chips and create applications that generate face models for communication or virtual items for online shopping.
Yoshihara said, “The camera has completely changed the mobile phone. As far as I can see, I have the same expectation for 3D sensor chips.” It has been working in the mobile phone camera industry for decades. “Speed will vary depending on the external environment, but we I will definitely see the wide application of 3D technology. I am sure about this.”
Sony controls about half of the camera chip market and supplies customers such as Apple and Samsung Electronics, but Yoshihara has refused to disclose its major customers on the grounds of a confidentiality agreement. Informed sources said earlier this month that Huawei will use Sony’s 3D camera in the next generation of models.
Of course, Sony is not the only 3D chip maker. Its competitors Lumentum and STMicroelectronics NV have also found the use of 3D chips, such as unlocking mobile phones through facial recognition, or measuring depth to improve nighttime photography and focusing effect.
Sony also showed off custom mobile apps with 3D deep heads. In an application, a user manipulates a virtual game with a specific gesture. In another test, the phone automatically calculates the depth of the room and accurately shows a virtual goldfish swimming around the real object.
Posted by Taran Kaur on December 30, 2018