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Sony Buys Image Sensor Technology Firm

October 8, 2015 - Written By Muni Perez

You have probably heard of the problems Japanese tech giant Sony Corp has been to lately. The makers of the much appreciated Xperia phones has seen its shares in the mobile market shrinking, resulting in loss over loss each quarter that ends. Sony Pictures division is not in good shape either, the PC division has been sold and the TVs division lost $7.5 billion in 9 years. Yes, this is not good at all. However, there is one part of Sony that is still healthy and making a ton of money – the camera sensors division. To keep the ball rolling, a report from Reuters informs us that Sony has just purchased a Belgian image sensor technology firm to boost its business.

Brussels-based SoftKinetic Systems develops gesture recognition hardware and software for real-time range imaging or 3D cameras, useful for time-of-flight cameras, which calculates the time light takes to reflect on an object and go back to the sensor. This type of technology is used for gesture recognition capabilities and SoftKinetic software platform can recognize and distinguish or isolate different scenic elements, identifying and tracking body parts of a user or even adapt posture, shape and movement to an existing model. The amount of the deal hasn’t been disclosed.

Although Apple has been crushing Android sales all over the world, Sony is an Android maker that actually profits from each iPhone since their sensors are the ones powering Apple’s devices. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company makes around $20 per iPhone sold. As such, taking in consideration that Apple sold 169 million iPhones last year and this year the number is growing far from 183 million units, Sony’s revenue from this is surpassing 7 billion dollars in two years. The announcement came a few days after Sony revealed that it would be spinning off its semiconductor business in order to boost sales from the image sensors division. As of today, Sony’s three pillars are their Entertainment, PlayStation, and Semiconductors division, with the last one being the most important. However, if in the next few years Apple decides to make their own camera sensors or to choose someone else to make, Sony will for sure be in trouble. With this acquisition, let’s see what the company will have in its sleeves to stay competitive and interesting for Apple and other phone makers.