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Seiko Instruments to Manufacture Varioptic Liquid Lenses for Cell Phones
Seiko Instruments Inc. (Japan) will develop, manufacture and market Varioptic's (Lyon, France) liquid lens products. The aim of this agreement is to achieve a significant penetration with liquid lens products in the fast-growing camera module market and other large volume end equipment markets such as barcodes and webcams.
Seiko Instruments (SII) will use its manufacturing expertise as the No. 1 supplier of backup button battery and capacitor to cellular phone companies to produce liquid lens units in very high volume with aggressive cost reduction to ensure liquid lens products maintain their cost advantage for auto-focus.
SII production capacity plan is expected to reach 500,000 units per month by the third quarter of this year and will expand mass production capacity according to market needs.
This agreement builds on an existing production capacity for Arctic 314 and Arctic 416 liquid lenses designed for 5–megapixel, 1/3-inch and ¼-inch format camera modules.
Varioptic will continue to develop the liquid lens technology and to ensure the system wide competitiveness of the liquid lens products. Varioptic's liquid lens features many advantages in terms of cost, size, robustness, power consumption, silent operation and speed. These advantages position liquid lenses particularly well for the emerging camcorder phone market where continuous auto-focus for video is a "must-have" feature.