Sony (SNE) is eyeing its image sensors for use in everything from wearable computers to hand-motion televisions in the years to come.
Bloomberg reports that Yasuhiro Ueda, Sony senior vice president for its image sensor unit, said that the development of the chips — now used in smartphones and digital cameras — would help carry the company forward as other companies eye “products such as self-driving cars and medical equipment.”
Sony has garnered almost a third of the $7.6 billion market for the low-power chips, known as complementary metal-oxide semiconductors, that quickly capture crisp snapshots in high-end smartphones, a market that is nearing saturation. The company sells CMOS to others, with versions in Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhones 5 and 4S and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s flagship Galaxy S4, according to SMBC Nikko Securities.
Sony’s Exmor image sensor works as an eye for electronic products, capturing light to convert into electronic signals for processing. The latest chip uses less power and faster processing to catch vivid images under low light.
“We have a high sense of crisis after seeing the high-end smartphone market start to saturate this year,” Ueda told Bloomberg. “Our plan is to draw a growth strategy in an area where we see shipment potential of 10 billion units a year.”
CMOS shipments rose 25 percent in 2012 with revenue increasing from $1.8 billion to $2.45 billion, according to estimates.