Sony to spend $1.2 billion to double image sensor output
TOKYO: Sony Corp will invest $1.2 billion in the next financial year to double its output of image sensors, taking advantage of brisk demand for digital cameras and smartphones, Reuters reported.
The sum includes a deal announced last week to buy back a semiconductor production line from Toshiba Corp, which has been estimated by an industry source at 50 billion yen ($600 million).
Sony will take advantage of a Japanese government subsidy for environmentally friendly businesses to help with the investment, it said in a statement but declined to say how much that would be.
It will convert part of the plant in Nagasaki, southern Japan, for the production of CMOS (complementary metaloxide semiconductor) sensors and invest in wafer processing equipment for CMOS image sensors. Sony is the world's second largest digital camera maker behind Canon Inc and runs a mobile phone joint venture with Sweden's Ericsson.
The investment will bring its total production of image sensors, including CCD and CMOS types, to 50,000 units a month by March 2011.
In a separate news item Sony Corp. has announced the launch of "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" (MUQ)a new, cloud-based, digital music service which gives music lovers with Sony equipment access at any time to mil- lions of songs from major labels.
Through MUQ, users can play music any time on a wide variety of Internet-connected Sony devices including Sony's 2010 models of networkenabled Bravia TV, Blu-ray disc players, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system as well as Vaio and other personal computers. It will also become available on a wide range of Sony's portable devices, as well as on Androidbased mobile devices and other portable devices.
With Basic (£3.99 in the U.K. and €3.99 in Ireland) and Premium (£9.99 in the U.K. and €9.99 in Ireland) monthly subscription plans, MUQ offers breadth of content and easy music discovery, features cited as most important by music enthusiasts.
The basic plan permits unlimited streaming of the songs to "ensure users discover music they want to hear". With access to an expanding catalogue of about six million songs, the basic plan works as an infinite ad-free radio station and subscribers can listen to dozens of personalized channels - categorized by genre, era as well as mood through SensMe - without the requirement to download or manage their music files.
Additionally, the premium subscription plan offers a onetime 30 day premium free trial enabling users to listen in full to every song on demand, cre- ate personal playlists of favorites, and gain access to premium Top 100 channels which are regularly updated with the latest hits.
By studying users' listening habits, incorporating their 'like/dislike' song ratings, analyzing their existing music collections and more, MUQ adapts to users' music preferences and constantly tailors music channels to offer the most compatible and enjoyable list of songs. Therefore, the more you listen, the more uniquely personalized your music channels become. Furthermore, users can also synchronize their existing music files and playlists from other media players including iTunes into MUQ and enjoy their existing music at any time across all compatible devices
Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity is initially available in the U.K. and Ireland with service availability in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and U.S. to be announced in due course during 2011. Moreover, Sony Corporation (hereafter ' Sony') has developed "Hybrid FPA (field-induced photo-reactive alignment)", a new liquid crystal alignment technique which enables a significantly faster response time for liquid crystal displays. Fast responses of less than 3ms have been achieved in test cells through this technology. -Bloomberg