Xiaomi has probably been the biggest beneficiary of Huawei’s steep decline over the last two years. The Chinese smartphone maker has emerged as the next big manufacturer, both in its home country and worldwide. Xiaomi was quick to move to fill the void left by Huawei in the premium and affordable flagship categories. Now, it may even end up partnering with Leica the camera manufacturer which lent its expertise to Huawei and helped it come up with some of the best camera smartphones of the time.
Some partnerships between phone makers and camera companies seem to be little more than marketing ploys. Others, however, have changed mobile photography for the better – and perhaps none more than the cooperation between Huawei and Leica. However, with Huawei’s well documented problems over the past few years, stemming from various US government bans, it’s been selling way less phones than it used to, and Leica might be looking to partner with another smartphone maker.
An enterprising soul went and did a deep dive into the Gallery Editor app built into Xiaomi’s Chinese MIUI ROM. And what he found there, in this app’s code, are translation strings directly related to Leica. The strings refer to filters that can be used when editing photos and videos, which means we should expect to see some Leica-branded filters marketed by Xiaomi alongside the phone’s co-branding. This is nothing special of course, other phone makers have done the same thing before.
According to the report, references to Leica were spotted in the source code of a Chinese MIUI Gallery Editor app. These code snippets hint at the filters like Leica Monochrom, Leica Monochrom High Contrast, Leica Natural, Leica Vivid and more that can be used to edit images or videos using the app in question.
There have been reports about a camera-centric Xiaomi 12 Ultra smartphone that’s been in the making for some time. This phone is said to come with a massive camera module and is said to be the phone that has a camera setup co-developed with Leica.
As of now, neither Xiaomi nor Leica have confirmed nor refuted these rumours, hence we can definitely see the latest report as yet another hint at the partnership. In the past, Leica has had a long association with Huawei which resulted in multiple phones with Leica’s signature Monochrome mode. However, Xiaomi might’ve grabbed the opportunity to partner with Leica after Huawei’s market was limited to China due to the ban by the US government.
We also came across a Leica Leitz Phone 1 as well which is basically a Sharp Aquos R6 but with the camera module tuned by Leica. However, the phone is limited to Japan which means that it is out of bounds for almost everyone.
Leica, a German-based optical lens manufacturer, was well-known for its partnership with Chinese smartphone maker HUAWEI, which ended in May 2021. So, the latest HUAWEI P50 series was the last to use the Leica branding. Now, according to this reliable source, Xiaomi will collaborate with Leica, which will be exciting to see.