Leica and Huawei have announced plans for a new research and innovation center to be situated at Leica’s headquarters in Wetzlar, Germany. The Max Berek Innovation Lab, named after the famed optical pioneer who created many of Leica’s early lenses, continues a partnership first announced in February and solidified in April with the launch of Huawei’s Leica-branded P9 phone.
According to Huawei, the R&D lab will “drive further development of optical systems and software-based technologies to improve imaging quality in a wide range of photographic and mobile device applications,” including AR and VR solutions. It’s not clear when work will begin at the center.
It was never quite clear just how Leica and Huawei shared the load in the P9’s camera design, particularly given the legendary German company’s propensity to licensing its iconic brand to basically anyone. (For example: Playboy and Hello Kitty, on the same camera, itself made by Panasonic.) We found the P9’s camera to be solid, if not wildly impressive, in our review. But it’s significant that Leica is allotting space at its own HQ to the Chinese technology giant, at least, suggesting that the two companies might just be serious about doing legitimate work together.