According to an article on The Register, camera phones will soon have lenses made from nothing more than drops of oil and water, but they'll still be able to auto-focus, and even zoom in for a close-up of Junior marching around the living room.
The lenses, developed by French company Varioptic, contain drops of oil and water, sandwiched between two windows, that act respectively as conductor and insulator. These liquid lenses could replace glass or plastic ones because of several advantages: no moving parts (leading to better reliability); very low power consumption; very small dimensions (diameter: 8 mm; thickness: 2 mm); and a speedy response time of 2/100th of a second.
Expect to see the first camera phones using the liquid lenses as early as the 2005 holiday season. The lenses might also appear in medical equipment such as endoscopes, as well as optical networking equipment or surveillance devices.
By that time, Junior will be almost ready for kindergarten.