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HMD Global partners Zeiss to advance mobile imaging on future Nokia smartphones

By Michael Low & Ng Chong Seng - on 6 Jul 2017, 3:30pm

HMD Global partners Zeiss to advance mobile imaging on future Nokia smartphones

The legendary Nokia 808 PureView had a 41MP camera.

HMD Global Oy, the Finnish company that develops and markets smartphones, feature phones, and tablets under the Nokia brand name, has announced that it’s entered into an exclusive long-term partnership with German optics giant Zeiss, with the hope of setting “new imaging standards within the smartphone industry.”

For those old enough to remember, the relationship between Nokia and Zeiss goes way back to 2005 with the Nokia N series. Since then, there had been several iconic Nokia phones with Zeiss optics, such as the 41MP Nokia 808 PureView, the Lumia 1020, and more recently, the Windows 10-running Lumia 950 and 950 XL.

From HMD Global’s point of view, this collaboration completes the quartet of partners it’d like to work with to make the best Nokia phones. Since its licensing of the Nokia brand from Nokia Technologies for smartphones and tablets, and from Microsoft for feature phones, it has swiftly tapped Foxconn for its manufacturing and engineering capabilities, and ditched Windows for Android and Google services. Nokia phones with Zeiss imaging technologies is the next logical progression and basically what the fans “expect”, according to Pekka Rantala, CMO of HMD Global.

While there’s no official word on when we’d see any Zeiss-influenced Nokia handsets, Rantala did reveal both teams are already working together. Both companies are also keen to stress that the partnership goes beyond the mere use of Zeiss lenses: the goal is to advance the whole imaging stack, from software and services to screen quality and optic design.

Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, HMD Global unveiled the Nokia 3, 5, and 6 smartphones running pure Android. Glaringly missing on these phones are Zeiss optics. That said, rumors of a Nokia 7 and 8 midrange handsets and a Nokia 9 flagship with Zeiss lenses have persisted since, so the first fruit of this collaboration may not be that far out.

Longer term, we do hope to see a Nokia phone with a super-advanced camera. Microsoft never did manage to pull off a worthy successor to the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020. Let’s hope HMD Global can do better.