Huawei and Leica have announced a strategic long-term partnership this morning with the aim to improve the smartphone manufacturer’s cameras, and give the well-known German camera maker a fresh presence in the mobile market.

Today Huawei Consumer Business Group (BG) and Leica Camera AG are delighted to announce the start of a strategic partnership, a co-operation with shared premium ambitions and spirit, which will see both technology and photography brands combining their shared ethos in a long-term commitment to the art of craftsmanship, meticulous engineering and the spirit of winning collaboration, to create a powerhouse in the reinvention of smartphone photography.

While the press release didn’t explicitly say so, it seems the most obvious route would be for Leica to develop optics in collaboration with Huawei on its future smartphones. This could mean the Chinese maker’s smartphones could feature Leica lenses in future, and possibly even include some cool features within the software. A footnote at the end of today’s announcement reads that the partnership will span R&D, design, co-engineering, user experience and marketing; suggesting it’ll be more than just a case of sticking a nice lens inside Huawei‘s flagship smartphones.

“The legendary status of the Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of innovation, highest precision and craftsmanship. I’m pleased and convinced that the traditional German medium-sized company Leica Camera will bring its values and comprehensive expertise in optical engineering to the long-term partnership with Huawei in order to achieve the best possible imaging results in the field of smartphone photography – and to take it to the next level of quality”, emphasizes Dr Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG

Of course, it’s not strange for smartphone companies to partner with other specialist firms on specific elements of its devices. LG’s G5 has a module built with B&O Play, while Alcatel’s latest Idol 4 and 4S feature audio technology created in partnership with JBL. Likewise, BlackBerry’s PRIV has Schneider-Kreuznach optics, and Nokia smartphones from yesteryear had Carl Zeiss lenses.

Currently, Huawei’s camera software within EMUI is some of the best around, offering some great features like light-painting and other slow exposure effects. Likewise, its camera hardware is generally decent. With Leica onboard, let’s hope it gets even better in future.


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