Sony loves to surprise people with its new technology. So it was just over two weeks ago, during a relatively mundane two-hour press conference about Sony's half-year earnings, that Kunitake Ando, the company's president and chief operating officer, pulled out of his pocket a new digital still camera that was guaranteed to amaze.
The new camera, which Sony made as a prototype to demonstrate the progress of its technology, weighs just 26 grams and measures 21.5 x 62.6 x 13 millimeters (mm).
The company said that advanced chip-mounting technology, which shrinks the space between connectors at the smallest point to just 67 microns, or about the same width as a human hair, is largely responsible for the camera's small size, although other compact parts were also squeezed into the package.
A 1.4cm liquid crystal display (LCD) screen that is just 4mm thick and can display 180,000 pixels, is fitted into the back to allow users to see the images they have taken. The images are stored on Sony's Memory Stick Duo memory cards - a mini version of its Memory Stick card.
The company has no immediate plans to market the device, since it was really built as a demonstration of the technologies Sony possesses, said a company spokesman - but all of the technologies will be used in future devices.