Huawei and Leica Partner to Reinvent Mobile Photography

Carrie Sylvester
Feb 25, 2016

logos2What’s the News?

Huawei and Leica Camera AG announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to reinvent smartphone photography. The companies used some very interesting and rather untraditional wording in their press releases; embracing a more holistic sound and approach. Huawei’s press release spoke about combining a shared ethos in a long-term commitment to the art of craftsmanship, meticulous engineering, and the spirit of winning collaboration to create a powerhouse that will reinvent smartphone photography. These are no small promises, particularly since neither of these companies are household names in the United States! That said, the companies are major players in their respective markets and geographies.

More about Huawei

Although it is not well-known in the U.S. market at this time, Huawei is much more familiar in its home country of China. According to the company’s statistics, Huawei was the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer in 2012. By 2015, it had become the very first Chinese company to sell more than 100 million mobile phones in a single year. In 2014, the company also became the first Chinese brand to appear on the Interbrand Best Global Brands list.

More about Leica

For people in the photography industry, Germany-based Leica is a well-known and very respected brand name. Like Huawei, though, it is somewhat less familiar in the U.S. consumer market. Leica is best-known for its high-end cameras, optical lenses, and iconic “red dot” logo. Although the brand is reasonably popular among professional photographers, it is rather new to today’s mobile photographers.

So What Does this Mean?

This partnership could be great news for the mobile photography industry if Leica does more than just lend its name to the camera module in a phone. If executed properly, this announcement could provide a kick start that helps take mobile photography to a whole new level. Given the limited real estate available with today’s compact smartphones, what these devices are really lacking is a true optical zoom. Maybe Leica will change that… at least one can hope!

It sounds like Leica has very high hopes for this alliance. According to a company official, smartphones make a very important contribution to the photography world, and this partnership will better enable the companies to “push the envelope of what is technologically possible.”

Mobile photography innovations benefit everyone, from budding photographers to experienced pros as well as manufacturers of cameras and photo-related apps/services. Smartphones continue to expose more and more consumers to the world of photography. Some people might have had zero interest in photography before they got a new smartphone with a cool new photo editing app or feature. This newly-found interest in photography might prompt more consumers to purchase (or at least want) standalone cameras with advanced features, enhanced image sensors, interchangeable lenses, or all of the above. If that time does come, Leica is hoping to be amongst the brands that consumers consider.

InfoTrends’ Opinion

It remains to be seen whether the devices that result from the Leica/Huawei partnership will be affordable to the masses, but I personally think that the first products will carry high ticket prices that will put them out of reach for many consumers. At the same time, however, the resulting smartphone will likely appeal to photo enthusiasts and professional photographers who are already familiar with the Leica brand.

InfoTrends continually tracks all aspects of the mobile imaging market. To learn more about our latest insights, please contact Matt O’Keefe.

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