Xiaomi has teased their upcoming Mi MIX smartphone with a camera that contains a world’s first. It’s going to have a liquid lens that adjusts its focal length and focus distance through the use of an electrical charge. This isn’t the first liquid lens to exist, and they’re common for some industrial uses, but it’s the first time one will be getting put into a production smartphone.
Other than the lens, there aren’t really many details about the new device yet or even just its camera – although no paternership deals with Zeiss, Leica or Hasselblad have been announced. Oh wait, they did get into bed with Light a couple of years ago. And Xiaomi did put out a survey last year to see if they should team up with a big name camera manufacturer (and which one). So… maybe?
Xiaomi's mysterious MIX phone will use liquid lens for the first time in the world pic.twitter.com/73ob6uBsyn
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) March 25, 2021
Liquid lenses are an interesting idea for smartphones, and in principle, the two seem perfectly matched given the typical size of liquid lenses compared to the camera modules in most smartphones. Just a single camera could potentially allow the phone to take everything from telephoto to macro shots with vast autofocus.
Xiaomi isn’t the only company pursuing liquid lenses. It was reported that Huawei was pursuing the tech towards the end of last year, too, although they’ve yet to announce anything that I’m aware of. But even if they are working on it, it looks like Xiaomi’s beaten everybody to the punch.
The new Xiaomi Mi MIX is expected to be announced on March 29th. It will be interesting to see exactly what capabilities the liquid lens can offer and just how many cameras will actually be on the back of the device. Will it replace them all and there’ll just be the one?
[via The Verge]