In order to keep smartphones thin while still offering versatile camera features, smartphone makers have largely taken the same approach in recent years – instead of using cameras with lots of moving parts, throw a bunch of different stationary cameras on a phone.

That way you can have different focal lengths to mimic the kind of zoom photography you’d get with a telescopic lens, offer wide-angle photography, and allow users to capture depth of field.

But from time to time we see something different. Earlier this year Vivo introduced a smartphone with a gimbal camera for image stabilization. And once upon a time Samsung and Panasonic used to sell phones with true telescopic lenses for telephoto zoom, but they were bulky.

Now Xiaomi is showing off a new telescopic lens that’s designed to fit inside a small camera bump, meaning it could bring true optical zoom features to future smartphones.

There’s no word on when the camera will be ready, what phones it will be used in, if any, or any of the other stuff you really want to know. But in addition to optical zoom, Xiaomi says the lens should help with brightness, image stabilization, and sharpness.

Here’s a short video of the lens in action:

And here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.

  • Xiaomi demonstrates a telescopic smartphone camera lens [Lei Jun/Weibo]
    Xiaomi’s new telescopic lens could bring smoother zoom to smartphone cameras. Xiaomi says the lens also captures 3X more light, and offers better image stabilization.
  • PCIe 6.0 spec version 0.7 [PCI-SIG]
    The PCI-SIG has released PCIe 6.0 specification version 0.7. The spec is on track to be approved next year, and enables data transfer rates up to 64 GT/s, which is twice the rate of PCIe 5.0 and four times as fast as PCIe 4.0.
  • iOS 14.2 is here [Ars Technica]
    Apple releases iOS 14.2 (and iPadOS 14.2) with bug fixes, new emoji, new wallpapers, and other small updates. Older devices that don’t support iOS 14 are also getting an iOS 12.4.9 bug fix update.
  • 3.1 pound System76 Galago Pro Linux laptop with Intel Tiger Lake coming soon [Liliputing]
    Update: The new System76 Galago Pro 3.1 pound Linux laptop with Intel Tiger Lake and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 goes on sale November 10.
  • Librem 5 Laptop Mode [Purism]
    Purism provides an update on software progress for using the Librem 5 smartphone as a convergence device – connect an external display and it becomes a Linux laptop or desktop, disconnect and it’s a Linux Smartphone. The Librem 5 is set to begin shipping to early backers later this month.

Keep up on the latest headlines by following Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook.

You can also find the latest news about open source phones by following our sister site Linux Smartphones on Facebook and Twitter.

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