Chinese smartphone brands are great hype beasts. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of them team up with leading camera manufacturers to make it seem like their smartphones provide unmatched camera performance. That hasn’t always been the case as these partnerships are always more for marketing and hype than anything else.
Xiaomi has jumped on this bandwagon as well. The company announced its partnership with German camera brand Leica. This “long-term strategic cooperation” will yield a high-end smartphone that will be released in the coming months. This is just old wine in a new bottle, and not something that needs to bother Samsung much.
Samsung has never been bothered by these partnerships
Huawei has been a long-term partner of Leica, slapping its branding on the cameras of many of its smartphones. Leica has also had similar smartphone partnerships with Sharp and Panasonic. Other Chinese manufacturers have gone down this route as well. Vivo launched a phone with Zeiss optics while OnePlus and Oppo went with Hasselblad. None of these phones brought any groundbreaking advancements.
In Leica’s case, the branded lenses used for Huawei’s phones were not actually made by Leica itself. It doesn’t even have the necessary infrastructure to build lenses for smartphones. The designs were made by Leica and Huawei while the lenses were manufactured by a third party. That’s basically what happens in such partnerships.
None of these camera-maker branded phones have unsettled Samsung’s Galaxy flagships much. There was no mass migration of customers over to these phones just because they came with the name of a major camera manufacturer slapped on the back. That’s one of the reasons why this is something Samsung hasn’t been tempted to replicate. Even though there were rumors that Samsung may team up with Olympus in a similar fashion but those rumors never came true.
So even if Xiaomi has decided to put old wine in a new bottle with its Leica partnership, don’t expect it to yield something of much substance.
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