Sony has revealed it is to invest 60 billion Yen (5 billion Yen more than Canon) over the next three years in its Kumamoto Technology Center (image sensor production). From the announcement: "Over the next three years, Sony will continue to strengthen its CMOS sensor manufacturing operations to provide growth markets such as mobile phones and digital still cameras with CMOS sensors that combine high image quality with advanced processing speeds."UPDATE: Although this story only showed up on Sony's semiconductor page today it was on their press release page some time ago, so it looks like Canon were chasing Sony's tail on this one.

Phil: I think we can expect to see CMOS sensors in compact cameras sooner rather than later.

Press Release:

Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation,
Kumamoto Technology Center to Reinforce
Image Sensor Production Facility

Tokyo, Japan - Sony Corporation today announced that it would invest approximately 60 billion JPY in Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation's Kumamoto Technology Center (Kumamoto TEC) Fab 2 facility, to extend clean room facilities by 5,000m² and reinforce image sensor fabrication capacity. This investment will take place from fiscal year 2007 to fiscal 2009.

Sony is positioning image sensors as a key focus area of its semiconductor business. Through the reinforcement of this facility, Sony will strengthen supply and provide the platform for further image sensor business growth.

Kumamoto TEC has continued to expand its operations as Sony's principle facility for the fabrication of imaging devices, such as the CCDs, CMOS sensors and micro-display devices that are Sony's strengths. In particular, demand for CMOS sensors has demonstrated rapid growth in recent years. In view of this, Sony is enhancing production operations for this market, with mass production having already commenced at Fab 2's existing 5,000m² facility in Spring this year.

Over the next three years, Sony will continue to strengthen its CMOS sensor manufacturing operations to provide growth markets such as mobile phones and digital still cameras with CMOS sensors that combine high image quality with advanced processing speeds.