Right after breaking off with Huawei
Huawei has recently announced that they have formally ended their ties with Leica. This was foreshadowed on the Huawei Xs 2 foldable. It’s a flagship phone that curiously does not carry Leica branding for its cameras. Since then, Xiaomi has entered a strategic partnership with Leica as part of their ambitions to become the next Huawei, except without the US sanctions taking place
The first Xiaomi phone to be equipped with Leica optics would be the 12 Ultra. The cameras of this phone are anticipated to be large and would be “the closest would be to a DSLR” although this was also Xiaomi’s statement when they marketed the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.
Lei Jun, in a now-deleted Twitter post, shared details regarding this partnership. He said that photography was once a “smear of darkness” that has continued to see the light of day thanks to vast improvements in night and low-light photography. With this new collaboration, Xiaomi would be able to experience new heights in terms of camera improvement, especially in low light. Jun believes that most smartphones do not actually capture the real essence of the night and what they do is just light up the moment. With the collaboration, however, this essence will soon come to flourish.
Xiaomi has chosen Leica due to their extensive experience within the camera industry. Leica has specialized in camera optics and camera technologies since its founding back in the 1800s and early 20th century. In addition to optics, they also specialize in other types of lenses such as telescopes, rangefinders, monoculars, and binoculars. Their experience with the smartphone industry, in particular with Sharp and Huawei, has also convinced Xiaomi to make them a global strategic partner.
With that in mind, we could expect that even non “ultra” flagships would don Leica branding. The Xiaomi 12 Ultra would be just one of many Xiaomi phones to come with it. We hope they do bring it sometime as well on some POCO handsets.