The Nokia comeback is in full swing as HMD Global announced an exclusive partnership with Zeiss to develop cameras for upcoming Nokia branded phones. The two companies will collaborate on various aspects of smartphone cameras, including the lens, sensors and software which will likely feature in upcoming Nokia flagships.
If you’re getting a sense of deja vu right about now, it would be because the two companies were also famously partnered a decade ago, during the heydays of the Finnish mobile phone maker. At the time, Nokia phones were lauded for their stellar camera and image quality. The Zeiss lenses used in Nokia cameras were perhaps the single most desirable feature of their cameras and featured in the highly popular N series, including the Nokia N95.
The rekindling of this partnership makes a lot of sense for Nokia and HMD Global. Nokia is mounting a serious comeback with the low and mid ranges Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6. The Nokia 6 is particular, has been critically acclaimed and has been selling like hot cakes in China. As these models are launched in other countries, we can expect sales to increase further.
With momentum on their side, Nokia is accruing and consolidating strategic partnerships to facilitate their expansion. Another example of this is their recent patent licensing and purchase deal with Xiaomi. Under this deal, Nokia will provide cellular standard-essential patents to Xiaomi, as well as network equipment and IP transport solutions. The two may also collaborate on Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence.
Nokia and Zeiss have a history of collaborative innovation. During the days of the Lumia series, Nokia and Zeiss teamed up to develop the PureView brand, even releasing a smartphone with a 41-megapixel camera! Even though the smartphone itself flopped, the PureView camera was the best on the market and pushed the boundaries of innovation at the time.
Of course, the camera is one of the central most important features of a smartphone these days. Smartphone companies are constantly trying to impress customers with innovative new camera technologies like dual cameras and 4K video capture. In such a scenario, Nokia can instantly get an edge over the competition if they manage to develop a better camera, especially if they incorporate Zeiss’ new attachable lenses. However, it is worth noting that the smartphone cameras have changed vastly since the last time these two were together. Now, software and image processing play as important a part as the lens itself in providing a great smartphone camera experience. It remains to be seen if Nokia and Zeiss can recreate their magic and challenge Apple and Samsung once again.