On Monday, Bloomberg reported Sony currently has its semiconductor production facilities on a 24-hour production schedule to meet the demand for its smartphone image sensors. Moreover, the Japanese corporation will keep its factories open through the holidays to ensure its clients receive their components.
Sony executive vice president Terushi Shimizu told the publication his firm is facing higher sensor demand than it can handle for the second year in a row.
Why Sony’s Photo Sensors are So Popular
In recent years, the global smartphone industry has been in a slump because of consumer disinterest and a glut of high-quality handsets. However, that trend has reversed itself as the leading mobile device makers have unveiled innovative new features. Notably, manufacturers have found success by equipping their latest smartphones with multiple photosensors.
In 2019, Huawei and Samsung released multi-sensor handsets that offered 40+ megapixel resolution, ultra-wide-angle lenses, and enhanced depth perception. Similarly, Apple included three cameras in its latest iPhone to provide users with enhanced zoom and panorama image capture functionality. Consequently, all three corporations experienced meaningful increases in smartphone sales.
Market analyst Masahiro Wakasugi noted the promise of improved image and video quality has lured in upgrade averse consumers. “The camera has become the biggest differentiator for smartphone brands,” said Wakasugi. “And everyone wants their social media pictures and videos to look nice.” Indeed, Apple saw a six percent jump in Chinese handset sales in part because of the iPhone 11 Pro’s best-in-class camera.
For years, Sony has maintained a reputation for producing some of the world’s best smartphone image sensors. Therefore, the public’s interest in devices with innovative image capturing features has had a significant positive impact on Sony’s bottom line. The corporation’s semiconductor unit experienced a 60 percent income surge in the second quarter. As a result, the conglomerate’s component division is its second-most profitable business behind its video game console segment.
In response, the Tokyo-based company has more than doubled its semiconductor spending to $2.6 billion for the fiscal year 2020. Moreover, the firm will launch a new manufacturing plant in Nagasaki in April 2021. Accordingly, Sony intends to increase its monthly image sensor production from 109,000 to 138,000 within two years.
Other Factors Driving Smartphone Sales Growth
While high-quality cameras are the primary driver of smartphone sales growth, other factors look to contribute to the segment’s growth.
For example, in November, Qualcomm predicted an eight percent increase in global mobile device sales because of the 5G deployment. Specifically, the chipmaker forecasts 225 million fifth-generation network-enabled handsets will be shipped in 2019. As the new technology promises high-bandwidth and low latency data transmission, it will appeal to the growing number of people who prefer to stream online video on their smartphones.
Besides, the world’s leading handset manufacturers are investing in new features that will appeal to security and novelty-loving consumers.
Apple and Samsung will include highly accurate ultrasonic fingerprint scanners in the next iteration of their flagship devices. In addition, Apple is also reportedly interested in redesigning its battery protection modules to make its smartphones slimmer.
It seems mobile device manufacturers have overcome consumer malaise by once again introducing irresistible innovations.