According to a report by Bloomberg, Sony is struggling to keep up with demand for the image sensors used in mobile phone cameras, despite running its factories 24 hours a day.
As mid to high-end phone cameras have grown more complicated and incorporated multiple lenses, the demand for these sensors has gone up. According to Bloomberg, Sony estimates its share of the market is 51 percent, and the company is aiming to have 60 percent by 2025.
Terushi Shimizu, the head of Sony’s semiconductor unit, told Bloomberg the company will run its factories through the holidays for the second year in a row, in an effort to keep up. Sony is even doubling its investment in the business, to $2.6 billion, as well as building a new factory in Nagasaki. Even that may not be enough, however.
“Judging by the way things are going, even after all that investment in expanding capacity, it might still not be enough,” Shimizu told Bloomberg. “We are having to apologize to customers because we just can’t make enough.”
With 5G phones starting to roll out, 2020 has the potential to be a major upgrade cycle for many manufacturers. Apple alone is predicted to sell between 80 and 100 million 5G iPhones in 2020. At that rate, Sony may find itself struggling to keep up for some time.