Thursday, October 02, 2014

Sony Product Sheets Restrict Applications

Sony publishes product sheets of its recent stacked sensors that have quite unusual restrictions on the sensor uses:

The 20MP 1/2.3-inch IMX220 document says:

The 13MP 1/3.06-inch IMX214 is intended for cellular phones or tablet devices. The note in the doc says:

The 1.07MP 1/8.32-inch IMX188 product sheet (non-stacked "regular" BSI) says:

Update: Apparently, most of the product briefs released recently have these restrictions. Few more examples: IMX208, IMX219, IMX135.


  1. No big deal. It is almost impossible to buy Sony sensors in the US anyway. They used to have a distributor in San Jose but now you have to talk to them directly in Los Angeles, where they try their hardest to convince you to go away. It is easier to just buy them from Europe.

    They also have blanket prohibitions on using their sensors in defense and most medical applications.

  2. I think it is just a waiver of liability.
    If you use those consumer graded sensors on critical mission - like defense and medical mentioned above, and on vehicle, airplane, industry control..., sony is not guarantee the performance.

    1. No, it is a prohibition. They tell you they will stop shipping sensors to you if they find you are selling into those applications.

    2. But i don't find any words in those restrictions implying prohibition... just a perfomance warning

    3. See their General Terms and Conditions of Sale.

  3. Sony has done this for a long time. It really doesn't matter. They have a "don't call us, we'll call you" policy anyway. They wait for sensor users to become successful and then approach them.

  4. they strongly rely on AP

  5. There is another interesting statement on Sony's sensor policy also at the link below, to an interview with Sony's president of the imaging group:
    "When we make sensors we put them in several categories. [At any given time] one category of sensors is reserved purely for Sony cameras - we don’t sell them to other companies. Like the sensor in the A7S. But once we’ve enjoyed this advantage we might sell them on later, after some time has passed. This is the second category. The third category of sensors is completely generic - the sensors are created for use internally and to sell externally, to anybody. China or Taiwan or wherever."

    see dpreview:

  6. Or maybe the sensor is designed and tuned to work in the high ambient temperatures expected inside modern smartphones.


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