Mobile image sensors embedded in smartphones are revolutionising journalism and photography. Ever taken a selfie or a picture of your pizza? Or maybe a high quality image of the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal for bragging purposes? Yep, we’ve all been there. There’s no doubt image sensor technology is important. I would be disgusted if a premium smartphone had poor camera technology.
News has broken out that Sony is set to buy Toshiba’s camera sensor business. Sony is already a dominant player in this industry. It’s sensors are used everywhere, from budget phones like China’s Xiaomi and India’s Micromax Information Ltd as well as more well known brands such as Apple and HTC. In fact, Sony sold 40% of all image sensor products in 2014.
The deal which will cost Sony approximately 165 million dollars is obviously a good deal for Sony. But what does this deal mean for Toshiba? Toshiba was recently caught up in an accounting scandal and the post-scandal CEO has promised to cut down on departments with low profit margins. With Toshiba selling only 1.6% of total image sensor products last year compared to Sony, cutting down on that part of its business seemed to be a good idea. Toshiba, whose products range from laptops to nuclear power plants will be focusing on its more profitable enterprises from now on.
The hundreds of employees working in Toshiba’s image sensor plants will most likely be fine. They’ll either continue to work in the business as part of Sony or will be relocated to work in other departments within Toshiba. Let’s wait to find out what this deal brings for us consumers. Coupled with Toshiba’s technology and research info, I’m expecting Sony’s sensors will enable me to take even better pics of my pizza (btw, I love chicken fajitas!).