Leica’s partnership with Xiaomi is official: Xiaomi 12 Ultra phone first to benefit

(Image credit: Weibo )

The phone rumors have been confirmed, today Xiaomi announced a long-term partnership with Leica for its mobile imaging technology. The world's third-largest smartphone manufacturer company stated: ‘the first imaging flagship smartphone jointly developed by the two companies will be officially launched in July this year.” This is sure to be the eagerly awaited Xiaomi 12 Ultra, which is set to give the Samsung S22 Ultra a run for its money. Until now, the manufacturer has been using camera technology from Sony for its smartphones, with lenses being developed by Hasselblad. 

Xiaomi’s launched its flagship 12 Series globally in March, but without the rumored 12 Ultra and now we know why - it stand's to reason that they would hold out to release the highest spec phone with Leica imaging technology. 

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

"Strong boost to Xiaomi's imaging strategy"

Lei Jun, Xiaomi Group

"This cooperation will provide a strong boost to Xiaomi's imaging strategy. During the cooperation, from optical design to tuning aesthetic orientations, the innovative technologies, product philosophies and imaging preferences of both parties have experienced unprecedented in-depth collision and fusion," said Lei Jun, founder, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi Group. 

Previous Leica/Huawei partnership 

The partnership is an important one for Xiaomi, already the world's third-largest smartphone manufacturer, as Leica has an excellent pedigree in the imaging world. 

Lecia’s previous five-year partnership with Huawei, which saw them work together from the first P9 Series to the P10 and, more recently, the P30, P40, and the finally the P50 series. This history means that in terms of camera systems for smartphones Leica will have a lot to offer from the offset. 

Huawei P50 Pro (Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

Xiaomi 12 Ultra

While the official announcement doesn’t name the Xiaomi 12 Ultra as the first to benefit from the new partnership, the July date confirms this will be the first flagship we see from Xiaomi with Leica imaging technology. 

The upcoming smartphone has been subject to several rumours, the most recent being a report by AndroidPolice, containing alleged images of the Xiaomi 12 Ultra showing as many as seven lenses at the rear. The primary sensor occupies a large portion at the centre and this largest sensor has been rumored to be the Sony IMX800 sensor that comes with a 1/1.1-inch focal length. 

"A new era of mobile imaging"

Matthias Harsch, Leica Camera AG

"We are convinced that the first jointly developed imaging flagship smartphone makes the pioneering progress of both companies visible. We will provide consumers in the field of mobile photography exceptional image quality, classic Leica aesthetics, unrestricted creativity, and will open a new era of mobile imaging," said Matthias Harsch, CEO of Leica Camera AG.


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Rachael Sharpe

Rachael is a British journalist with 18 years experience in the publishing industry. Since working on www.digitalcameraworld.com, she’s been freelancing, and contributing to some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including T3.com and TechRadar.com and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. She's currently acting as editor of 5GRadar.com - a website specializing in the latest cellular technology.