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Sony’s One-Inch Camera Sensor Debuts Next Week

Sony’s new one-inch camera sensor, the IMX989, will debut in a smartphone next week.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has confirmed that its 12S Ultra will be released on July 4, and will be packing Sony’s massive phone camera sensor.

Only lesser phone manufacturers have brought a smartphone to market with a one-inch camera sensor. The Sharp Aquos R6 and R7 have one-inch sensors, as does the Leica Leitz Phone 1.

Despite the size, Sony’s one-inch camera sensor will reportedly peak at a resolution of 50 megapixels, a way behind the 108-megapixel resolution seen in other smart phone cameras.

Sony Group is focusing on its image sensor technology as it aims to arrest its sliding market share in the field while warding off rivals, such as Samsung.

“We’re conducting R&D feeling an intense threat”, admitted Terushi Shimizu, the President and CEO of Sony Semiconductor Solutions, earlier this month.

Sony has suffered a major fall in sensor market share since sanctions saw it lose lucrative client Huawei. Its global market has fallen from 53 per cent in FY19 to just 43 per cent in FY21.

Samsung, by comparison, now has 18.5 per cent in the market, which is likely to rise as the new iPhone 14 range, which features Samsung camera sensors, arrives.

Sony is targeting a market share of 60 per cent by 2025, by expanding its main image sensor plant in Nagasaki, and focusing the majority of its FY22 budget on semiconductors, with an increase of 35 per cent of spending in this area.

Shimizu gave a presentation earlier this month in which he revealed “we expect that still images from phones will exceed the image quality of single-lens reflex cameras within the next few years”.

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