Xiaomi and Leica announce partnership that should define newer smartphones soon

Xiaomi, one of the biggest brand names in the smartphone world, has entered into a long-term partnership with German camera-maker Leica. The partnership, which the two companies are calling a “strategic cooperation in terms of mobile imaging”, will see the two collaborate on their first-ever product, a flagship smartphone, that will be officially launched in July.

The “imaging flagship smartphone” in question is tipped to be the Xiaomi 12S series which has already leaked featuring the Leica branding on the camera housing of one of the expected variants, the Xiaomi 12S. The other variant of the device will be the Xiaomi 12S Pro.

“Xiaomi and Leica share the same ideas regarding mobile imaging. Both companies are eager to continuously explore the optical performance and photographic experience in the mobile imaging era through extreme technological breakthroughs and aesthetic pursuits,” a statement from the companies reads.

“We will provide consumers in the field of mobile photography exceptional image quality, classic Leica aesthetics, unrestricted creativity, and will open a new era of mobile imaging,” promises Leica Camera CEO Matthias Harsch in the joint statement.

Xiaomi will be Leica’s fourth smartphone-making partner after Panasonic, Huawei and Sharp. The German optics leader partnered with Panasonic in the Lumix DMC-CM1 “connected camera”, Panasonic-speak for a smartphone with a proper lens (an f/2.8 Leica DC Elmarit lens perched on top of a one-inch MOS sensor), way back in 2014. Most recently, Leica has announced its own smartphone, the Leitz Phone 1, which, in essence, is a rebadged Sharp Aquos R6 with a Leica touch.

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What many of us know Leica for, however, given that their popular point-and-shoot cameras have been out of the reach of many in Kenya, is its collaboration with Huawei.

The long-term partnership, announced way back in 2016, has seen the two companies pair up to produce some ground-breaking mobile cameras on Huawei’s flagship P and Mate series smartphones. After seven years, however, that strategic partnership with Leica Camera by Huawei has come to an end, paving the way for the partnership between Leica and Xiaomi. That, effectively, means that the Huawei P50 series, which was launched earlier this year, is the last of smartphones from the Chinese company to have benefited from the Leica co-engineering.

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