Semiconductor business at Sony began in 1954 with the commercialization of Japan’s first transistor. Since then, we have continued to contribute in original Sony product development and market creation. In image sensors, Sony commercialized the world’s first CCD color camera in 1980 and many other successful products over the years. From 2004 we began to focus on CMOS image sensors with low power consumption and fast readout. Commercialization of the world’s first back-illuminated CMOS image sensor in 2009 was followed by the world’s first stacked CMOS image sensor in 2012. These developments occurred as the smartphone market was growing, and even today, we continue to lead the industry in image sensors.
Device business by the Sony Semiconductor Solutions Group is focused on image sensors, and includes a variety of other parts including microdisplays, LSIs, and laser diodes. In image sensors, where we command the top share of the global market, mobile applications are central, with growth expected in new areas such as automotive cameras, security cameras, and factory automation. One use of image sensors is in viewing applications for conventional digital cameras or mobile devices, where they make devices more convenient or enjoyable for individual users. Another use is in recognition, where they bring greater convenience, safety, and security to society. We have positioned this use in sensing as our next pillar of growth, and our long-term vision calls on us to fulfill essential roles in society as a leader in this field. To date, the Sony Semiconductor Solutions Group has created new markets for image sensors through innovation, and looking ahead, we will continue to take on challenges for further growth.
Integrated operations from development to design, production, and sales within the Group bring advanced products to life, with Sony Semiconductor Solutions serving as headquarters and handling R＆D, product planning, and design, Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing in charge of process development and production, Sony LSI Design designing products, Sony Depthsensing Solutions in Belgium developing ToF range sensors, Altair Semiconductor in Israel developing LTE modem chips, and others.