There’s a good reason for this: Sony makes great sensors.
You have to wonder if at some point Sony will decide to exit the consumer business and concentrate on B2B only. I’m betting – I’m counting – on them sticking around: with cameras like the a6000 [B&H | Amazon] and a7s [B&H | Amazon], Sony is making some of the most innovative and compelling cameras in the market today.
Sony owns an estimated 40.2 percent share of image sensor market
The Sony smartphone business has been struggling for a while now, to a degree that company leaders are publicly thinking about selling the division. The Japanese electronics manufacturer's camera business has not been able to catch up with rivals Canon and Nikon either. However, Sony is still making significant profit from smartphone and digital camera markets by providing its rivals with image sensors, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to market research estimates, in 2014 Sony made 40.2 percent of all image sensors, leaving its rivals in the sector far behind. Presumably, this figure includes sensors made for things like automotive and industrial uses, but there's no doubt that it also accounts for the front and back sensors in Apple's iPhone 6 models, both made by Sony. Those sensors earn approximately $20 for the company for each iPhone sold. Underscoring just how important the Apple contract is, in March OmniVision was ordered to pay a $12.5 million settlement to its investors when it failed to disclose that it had lost the contract. Sony's own financial reporting shows a 40% increase in image sensor sales from 2013 to 2014, likely owed in most part to the Apple deal.
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(cover photo credit: snap from Digital Photography Review)