LG to up optics in cell phone handsets

LG Electronics and Schneider-Kreuznach have agreed to collaborate on optical systems for cell phone cameras

LG Electronics signed a deal Wednesday with German lens maker Jos. Schneider Optische Werke (Schneider-Kreuznach) under which the two companies will collaborate on optics for the cameras in mobile phones.

The partnership, which is the German company's first with a cell phone manufacturer, comes hot on the heels of the launch of LG's "Shine" mobile phone. The phone, which was announced in South Korea last week, contains a Schneider-Kreuznach lens.

The two companies started working together on the Shine phone a few months ago and Wednesday's agreement should lead to closer cooperation on future phones, said Judy Pae, a spokeswoman for LG in Seoul.

The agreement was signed by Skott Ahn, executive vice president of LG Electronics Mobile Handset R&D Center, and Josef Staub, CEO of Schneider-Kreuznach.

As competition increases in the cell phone industry phone makers are putting more emphasis on improving camera features. A handful of phones offer optical zoom, which delivers much better quality images than those using a digital zoom. Samsung Electronics recently launched a phone with a 10-megapixel image sensor and optics typically found in a digital still camera.

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