Leica is looking for new partner after Huawei and Xiaomi might be the perfect match
There came a point when we thought that smartphone makers are largely done with camera advancements. That’s when the camera makers stepped in. Several iconic camera and lens companies like Hasselblad and Zeiss have joined hands with smartphone manufacturers to deliver better results on phones. Personally, I think this is a better approach than just increasing the number of megapixels or lenses on a phone, that don’t really help anyone.
The trend setter for these partnerships was the Leica and Huawei tie-up that gave us some really impressive camera systems on smartphones. It helped Huawei compete and at times, even beat Samsung with the camera performance. These included Huawei P20 Pro, P30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 30 Pro, and the recently launched Mate 40 series.
Unfortunately, things haven’t been that great for Huawei in the last few years and that has possibly left Leica to look for another partner. Several reports suggest that Leica is considering to end its partnership with Huawei after the upcoming Huawei P50 series. The reason behind this is still not clear but Huawei limited presence in international markets could easily be one.
Leica is tipped to be considering a multi-brand deal like Zeiss which might see it join hands with Xiaomi, Sharp and Honor. Or, at least one of them. I believe Xiaomi might be the right home for the German camera manufacturer. In fact, both parties are likely to benefit from it.
Xiaomi is the number one smartphone brand in one of the biggest smartphone markets India and, and is doing exceptionally well in its home country China. The smartphone maker has made its most ambitious jump this year with the launch of Mi 11 Ultra and Mi Mix Fold. The first was also launched in India and bets big on cameras. Xiaomi equipped the phone with the largest sensor on any smartphone a title that was recently taken away by a Sharp phone.
Yet, Xiaomi is showing a lot of promise, just like Huawei did a few years ago. There are two other smartphone makers that made a similar jump this year OnePlus and Vivo both entering the flagship smartphone segment by launching OnePlus 9 Pro and Vivo X60 Pro+. OnePlus and Hasselblad partnership has been one of the most talked about things in the tech industry while Vivo also joined hands with Zeiss, which was previously operating with Nokia.
Both OnePlus and Vivo had entered long-term agreements with Hasselblad and Zeiss. The impact might not be as big in the first phones but, is visible. This will only get better over the next two-three years. That might help OnePlus or Vivo to take lead over Xiaomi in terms of camera performance.
The Mi 11 Ultra showed what Xiaomi is capable of doing. The smartphone maker used high resolution sensors on all three lenses and was also ranked number one on the DxOMark list.
However, it is still to establish itself as a premium Android smartphone brand and narrow the gap with both OnePlus and Samsung. The Leica partnership might just provide that much-needed push. Xiaomi has always been the brand for masses. It became popular because of its affordable devices, most notably the Redmi Note series. In the last 12 months, Xiaomi has been trying to make a push towards the premium category and separating the Mi line-up from the Redmi products was a major step in that direction.
The recently introduced Mi 11 series gave us a fresh look at what the smartphone maker is capable of but, leaves scope for more. A new camera partnership, combined with few software improvements, can really help Xiaomi emerge as a premium brand.
The idea may sound exciting but, Xiaomi can’t do much about it, at least as of now. It is entirely dependent on how things turn out between the other two companies. Huawei and Leica are still in a partnership. There is still time for the Huawei P50 launch and everything we have suggested might fall apart if, Huawei and Leica decide to continue their tie-up. Technology News
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