Sony did make a great comeback with their high-end digital cameras in the last few years, and lot of photography fans loved them.
But that "camera buff" population isn't growing, and even if it did, that market certainly wouldn't be able to make up for the loss of the company's huge TV business.
You are absolutely correct about Panasonic's lithium-ion battery business.
Panasonic is supplying lithium-ion battery cells for Ford Motor Company’s two hybrid and two plug-in hybrid vehicles. So, they are NOT abandoning that part of the lithium-ion battery business and they are rightly seeing future in it.
I thgought Sony did a really smart move when they got into high end digital cameras, adopting the Carl Zeiss T* line of lenses previously used by Kyocera's Contax brand. Actually, I wondered why companies like Kyocera (Contax and Yashica cameras) didn't themselves aggressively get into digital photography, since the tea leaves were pretty clear on that too?
So the fact that Sony jumped in seemed smart. And their full size 24 X 36 mm sensors in the top of the line SLRs was superb.
The problem MAY be, though, that with cameras now in every cell phone and smart phone, perhaps people have dumbed down to accepting mediocrity, as they have also done with audio. It's a shame, if this is what's keeping Sony camera sales down.
What to make is one thing, whom to sell to is another. Europe is in trouble, US is slow, and they just picked a fight with the Chinese at this very moment, when they need the Chinese to make it cheap and buy it dear, like Apple is doing.
I visited Sharp's LCD factory in the early 1990's. At that time they had some of the best LCD technology around. And they had five year plans for where their product lines were going. But what I remember most about the visit was the hospitality and politeness of the people. I'm really hoping to see these companies emerge from their present difficulties and be the vibrant players that they have been in the electronics market.
Out of the 3 areas proposed by Panasonic (solar, lithium-ion batteries and appliances) I would only put my money on batteries...solar is effectively dead without government subsidies, solar energy can't compete with natural gas..appliances is modestly growing market and smart appliances are over-hyped...but everyone needs better batteries! electric cars need better lithium-ion ones but it gets bigger if IoT takes off every gadget will need one as well (energy harvesting gets you only so far, actually this is where solar might play a role)
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.