Yesterday German Manager-Magazin announced that Leica is planning to offer smartphones with the Leica brand. Today we receive the acknowledgment by a Leica press release (see below):

Huawei and Leica Camera announce long-term technology partnership for the reinvention of smartphone photography – bold statement! The partnership spans „research and development, design, co-engineering, user experience, marketing and retail distribution“.

It’s rumored that the coming Huawei P9 smartphone will be the first result of the partnership – including what contributions by Leica: Optics? Image processing? Leica Logo? We’ll see!

» Forum Discussion „Leica is entering the Smartphone Market!“

Here is the full release:

HUAWEI and Leica Camera announce long-term technology partnership for the reinvention of smartphone photography

Leaders in the smartphone and photographic worlds come together to create a premium visual world renaissance

[Wetzlar, 25th February, 2016] 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.

In 2012, HUAWEI became the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer and was the first Chinese company to sell more than 100 million mobile phones in one year in 2015. The first Chinese brand to appear on the prestigious Interbrand Best Global Brands list in 2014, HUAWEI soared to number 88 in 2015 whilst launching the globally critically acclaimed HUAWEI Watch and HUAWEI P8. In 2016, HUAWEI looks to build on its success with Leica Camera: a mutually beneficial collaboration with the most iconic name in the photographic world to bring joint superior excellence to consumers.

For over 100 years, premium iconic camera manufacturer Leica Camera has been creating lightweight cameras favoured by street photographer pioneers and world-class optical lenses, fulfilling the passions of its community. With ingenious optical engineering and formidable craftsmanship, Leica cameras, recognisable by their ‘red dot’ branding, are German engineering at its best, and continue to attract new generations of consumers who aspire to achieve “the Leica look” and own these masterpieces of design. In addition to making precision-crafted masterpieces, Leica supports prominent photographers and emerging new talent around the world.

Richard Yu, CEO of the HUAWEI Consumer BG said: “We choose our partners carefully, and with this extraordinary collaboration we are offering our wide customer base and consumers the best elements of two expert brands in harmony: combining innovation and design, enhancing the user experience and continuing to inspire amazing advancement in human technology through exceptional premium imaging quality. Leica is a legend in the world of photography; we believe no other manufacturer has revolutionised the industry as much as them. We, HUAWEI, take the utmost pride in exceptional quality and Leica is in a class of its own in its sector.”

Oliver Kaltner, CEO of Leica Camera AG said: “The strategic alliance between HUAWEI and Leica Camera demonstrates the desire of two rapidly growing and globally active brands to continuously push the envelope of the technologically possible. In addition to innovative strength and premium standards, our two companies are united by the commitment to uncompromising quality. The technology partnership with HUAWEI offers Leica Camera an excellent opportunity to introduce its proven optical expertise into a new product segment and to unlock exciting business areas in the field of mobile devices. Smartphones make a very important contribution to the world of photography and open an important door for Leica to new target groups and fields of application.”

“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.

More details on the culmination of HUAWEI and Leica’s partnership, which will span research and development, design, co-engineering, user experience, marketing and retail distribution, will be shared as the partnership continues.

About The Author

Andreas is Photo Engineer and lives in Bonn, Germany. He runs the international Leica Forum, the Systemkamera Forum (about CSC cameras) and the Fuji X Forum. Google+

5 Comments

  1. I don’t really see what Leica has to do with phones. If they were manufacturing sensor AND had in their sleeves something able to make a phone a real camera, I could understand. It is not the case, what can they offer beside lens ? Photo treatment ? It is not where they shine !
    The only thing they can bring is a logo then a 10 times price tag… pretty useless isn’t it !
    Enough of the legendary story, that was for a very different industry, they had great difficulty to take the digital turn and they drop their R-system clients, today they are desperate to find a market so why not phones they think….mistake this market is no more juicy, it’s declining !

  2. The Leica brand is being watered down by greedy VC’s.

  3. I won’t buy a smart phone because of Leica lens/logo on it. What is Leica thinking?

  4. If it was an iPhone with Leica lens and processing, then I’d be interested, but not with Huawei.

  5. I think this could be a very interesting partnership. I own the Panasonic CM1 which is an excellent device and so far the best smartphonecamera. Great build quality and even better picture quality. I could imagine devices from the new partnership here where the overall build quality of the phone would be at least on that level plus a nice lens, paired with a nice sensor and maybe some nice software on top. And I would expect a Leica skin on the Android UI, something like the Nokia Z Launcher, and also a perfect integration of the Leica Apps to control the Q and the M successor. Besides that there is clearly a marketing effect wanted to broaden the customer base. And of course this is happening because some investment companies want to see some return at some point. This is OK as long everything is played out professionally here. Let’s give them a chance and see what the first products look like. I’m looking forward to the development of this partnership.

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