Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has officially confirmed on its Weibo blog that its next Mi Mix phone, launching in a few days, will be the world’s first smartphone to use “liquid lens” technology in its camera.
The lens uses a liquid wrapped in a thin film to replace a normal optical lens. A motor will be able to precisely control the shape of the lens, allowing for super-fast autofocus, as well as the ability to quickly change the focal length of the lens. In essence, the liquid lens can easily switch from wide-angle to macro and telephoto, giving users a super flexible camera phone that uses just one lens instead of the three or four lenses you start seeing on many flagships with photographic ambitions.
Xiaomi says it developed the technology itself and that the liquid lens “has the characteristics of high light transmittance, ultra-low scattering, and resistance to extreme environments”.
Liquid lenses were considered a game-changer for the smartphone market – a smartphone market, of course. , in which the Motorola Razr V3 was just as great as the phones. The following year, Varioptic teamed up with Samsung on a liquid lens smartphone camera and said it would hit the market in late 2005.
Obviously, that hasn’t happened, although Samsung has patented liquid zoom lens since at least 2010. Why hasn’t it applied for one commercially yet? Who knows … Maybe for a large parts supplier like Samsung the idea of selling multiple cameras per device is more attractive than a single lens system that can do everything.
Either way, it will be fascinating to see how the Mi Mix camera works and learn about the pros and cons of this technology in the field. Xiaomi is certainly moving a lot with its camera technology at the moment; The launch event on March 29 will also be the debut of the Mi 11 Super Cup GN2, which will be one of the first phones to use Samsung’s extraordinary new Isocell GN2 camera sensor.