It has been highly rumored that Oppo’s upcoming flagship phone, the Oppo Find 7, will feature the mems camera device when it appears at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona next month. That may still happen, as a number of mems Cameras have been produced, but the final product will likely have to ship with something else.
In a press release, Tessera Technologies, the parent company of Digital Optics, the manufacturer of the mems camera, has announced that production of the cameras will cease as the company goes into “restructuring.”
Instead of manufacturing the camera they will be looking to sell or licence the name and technology to other companies. So the cameras could potentially still come out in a phone, but it doesn’t sound like anything is currently in place.
“After an exhaustive process of exploring multiple options, we have decided to cease DOC [Digital Optics Cameras] manufacturing operations [. . .] while also exploring new ways to realize value from our extensive DOC intellectual property portfolio, including a sale, licensing or other means.”
But the rabbit hole goes deeper than that. Samsung and Tessera also recently announced a mutual patent agreement. What does that mean? It means they can share in each others technologies. The terms and money paid out were not disclosed, so it may just be that they are continuing their long standing relationship leasing semi conductor technologies.
Tessera seems to be going back to what it is known for, licencing technology for companies like Samsung to produce with. Digital Optics may have been an attempt for the company to break out of its shell and move into manufacturing. Something it appears to be pulling back from.
Tessera also plans to keep a core of the mems team around, saying “we continue to believe our mems|cam technology is unique and novel and may be incorporated into mobile devices in the future. To that end, we intend to maintain a small team of MEMS engineers to further the mems|cam technology.”
So it seems possible that the company could lease the mems camera to Samsung or other companies like Oppo. But with the manufacturing of mems cameras ending during restructuring, it seems unlikely that a camera would come in a device that is just around the corner. Best hope? The next Oppo phone or the next Samsung device after the Galaxy S5.
We will keep you up to date with any information as it becomes available.