It's day one of CP+, Japan's biggest camera show, but there's some unusual photography news from two companies outside the country: Chinese telecoms titan Huawei has announced a partnership with Leica, the legendary German camera manufacturer, in an effort to boost its mobile photography credentials.
According to a grandiose press release, the deal will be a "co-operation with shared premium ambitions and spirit, which will see both technology and photography brands combining their shared ethos in a long-term commitment to the art of craftsmanship, meticulous engineering and the spirit of winning collaboration, to create a powerhouse in the reinvention of smartphone photography."
IT'S NOT CLEAR WHAT FORM THE PARTNERSHIP WILL TAKE
It's not clear exactly what form the partnership will take. Leica's primary tech collaborator in the past has been Panasonic; the two companies have often repackaged Panasonic products with a red Leica dot and sold them for a higher price, and more recently the CM1 cameraphone carried a Leica-branded lens. Leica's status as a luxury brand could have particular appeal for Huawei in its home market.
If the partnership is more than skin-deep, it might make a lot of sense for both companies. Leica is smart to recognize the importance of mobile photography, and Huawei is a huge, growing force that could nevertheless use some stronger global brand recognition as well as the optical expertise that Leica can provide. More details will be shared "as the partnership continues," according to the companies; don't be surprised to see Huawei phones carry the famous red dot.