Leica and Huawei seal long-term working relationship with joint R&D center


It appears that Huawei and Leica's collaborative efforts will continue past the former's recent P9 and P9 Plus smartphones. When the devices launched, there were some question marks over Leica's actual involvement aside from the branding that adorns the rear of each handset. But Huawei swiftly reiterated that the German optics firm's involvement went beyond the superifical. With rumors that upcoming Huawei handsets will also get the Leica treatment, the two firms have announced their intention to create a research and development center in order to build collaborative software and optical systems in the future. 

Named the Max Berek Innovation Lab after the guy who created Leica's first 35mm camera lens, the joint R&D effort will be homed at Leica's HQ in Wetzlar, Germany. Working in tandem, the firms hope to make large strides in the mobile camera market with respect to both hardware and software. Additionally, the two companies will utilize the lab to delve into the fledgling realms of AR and VR. Huawei has already turned out some neat-looking VR this year, while Richard Yu has also confirmed that VR-friendly 2K displays will be bundled into future smartphones.

In our review of the Huawei P9, it's fair to say we weren't blown away by the rear-facing camera's capabilities. It's not that it's terribly bad -- it's actually rather good. But given the prestige loaded with the Leica label, we did perhaps expect a humdinger that didn't quite materialize. Still, the partnership remains young, and now that Huawei and Leica have essentially got their own place together, here's hoping they can emulate the kind of innovation and success that Nokia achieved with German optics outfit Carl Zeiss.


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