According to a report, Apple is among the customers of these chips, and the company is already making profit with the sales of the sensors.
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Japanese multinational company Sony will boost the production of its next-generation of 3D sensors amid high demand of the product from phone makers, including Apple, a Bloomberg report has said. These sensors are said to power the front as well as the rear 3D cameras of models from customers in 2019. Sony will commence the mass production in late summer to meet demand, Satoshi Yoshihara, Head of Sony’s sensor division, was quoted as saying.
The executive, however, declined to provide sales or production targets, but said the 3D business is already operating profitably and will make an impact on earnings from the fiscal year starting in April. Bloomberg says that Sony’s technology “provides much needed optimism to the global smartphone industry, which is suffering a slowdown as consumers find fewer reasons to upgrade devices.”
The company has reportedly started providing software toolkits to third-party developers to let them experiment with the chips and create supported apps. “Cameras revolutionized phones, and based on what I’ve seen, I have the same expectation for 3D. The pace will vary by field, but we’re definitely going to see adoption of 3D. I’m certain of it,” Yoshihara was quoted as saying.
According to the executive, Sony’s technology differs from the ‘structured light’ approach of existing chips, which have limitations in terms of accuracy and distance. Sony uses ‘time of flight’ method that sends out invisible laser pulses and measures how long they take to bounce back, which, he claimed, creates more detailed 3D models and works at distances of five meters. Bloomberg says that Sony controls about half of the camera chip market and supplies chips to Apple, Alphabet, Samsung, and Huawei, among others, although Yoshihara declined to identify them by name, citing confidentiality agreements.
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