Sony is looking to acquire back its semiconductor chip plant that it had sold to Toshiba in 2008. The acquisition will be valued at just shy of $600 million, and would help Sony better compete in producing better sensors for camera phones and smartphones with capable cameras. Through the purchase of the plant, Sony is hoping to double its output of CMOS camera sensors–which are used in smartphones–to give the company an output of 40,000 wafers per month. Sony is trying to catch up with U.S.-based firms and Korean rivals like Samsung in this space; rival Omnivision is said to be readying an 8-megapixel camera sensor for Apple’s next generation iPhone. A Sony Ericsson phone, created as a joint venture between Sony and Ericsson, was recently spotted at the FCC with a 16-megapixel camera. Hopefully, as a result of this deal, we’ll see more high-end camera sensors on phones.

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