Wednesday, February 24, 2016

LEICA IS ENTERING THE SMARTPHONE MARKET



This is not an early April Fools joke.  The German trade publication “Manager Magazin” reported today that Leica is entering the smartphone market in a joint venture with the Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei.  Few details are known at this point other than that the name of the phone will be P9 with an anticipated price of 600 euros.  That would bring the cost right in line with the Apple iPhone.

Huawei P9 feature top-end specifications with dual camera set-up
Huawai P9 Phone

While many comments claim surprise, it should be viewed as an extension of the Leica camera market to a younger audience.  It is a known fact that the amateur camera market is quickly disappearing.  It is taken over by smart phones with camera capabilities.  While these were of relatively poor quality in the past, top models have progressed into rather capable cameras.  With this phone/camera Leica is definitely getting a jump on the competition.  The Phone reportedly will be available this spring.

This venture harks back to the very early days of the company founder of Ernst Leitz.  In a book by W. Erb about the Leitz (Leica) company is a short paragraph with a transcript from a newspapaer article that translates as follows:

“On September 1864, the 39th meeting of the German Naturalists and Physicians took place in Giessen. (Giessen is a town very close to Wetzlar)  Particular efforts were made to remain competitive during the subsequent exhibition of microscopes.  For the young mechanic (Ernst Leitz) there was a special task.  Phillip Reis planned to demonstrate his invention, the telephone, since his first try in Frankfurt on October 16, 1861, had failed.  Ernst Leitz successfully completed the preliminary work with the help of his technical knowledge, so that on September 21, 1864, the final recognition was not denied the inventor.”

File:Johann Philipp Reis telephone.jpg
Phillip Reis phone, demonstrated wityh the help of Ernst Leitz in 1864



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14 comments:

  1. Will it have a rangefinder?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it doesn't need one. The short focal lengths of cell phone lenses have enough depth of field to make focusing unnecessary.

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  2. Since Leica is short for LEItz CAmera, will this be a Leitel (LEItz TELephone)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would stand for LEIca TELephone, however.

      Delete
  3. Holy Moley! This is sensational news. I am going to have to look into this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe a lot of Leica owners will. A cell phone with Leica quality bulit in camera capabilities is a natural addition to ones Leica camera equipment.

      Delete
  4. Eric Chan wrote on Facebook:

    It will definitely have a place in the brand-conscious Chinese market. Just look at how the M9 have been shopped up by the mainland Chinese shoppers even though many don't even know how to operate a manual rangefinder camera. It's the prestige of owning one that counts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure Leica will take the additional revenue wherever it comes from. As far as not knowing how to operate a rangefinder, you could also add not liking it. That's why Leica makes cameras other than rangefinders as well. A rangefinder is just not for everyone. As for the prestige; that is a worn out argument which certainly does not belong to all Leica owners.

      Delete
  5. Edward Baronia wrote on Facebook:

    Unfortunately, unless you are a part of one of the two major ecosystems, you immediately become an "also-ran"; see Blackberry, Nokia, Microsoft, et al.

    I could see some members of my demographic become interested in this. Those who do carry a better camera in addition to their cell phone tend to favor larger sensor size and high ISO capabilities. So the main way to do this right wouldn't be the thin model shown, it would be something more akin to the Nokia or Samsung models that are cameras that happen to have phones built in.

    You can't cheat physics, so focal length and sensor size have to be up to par.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure Leica is not trying to take over the cell phone market. But this will open a market for them for individuals who are looking for a good camera in a cell phone. This, however, should not be misconstrued as a replacement for any of the other Leica cameras.

      Delete
  6. David Shriqui commented on Facebook:

    Leica together with a chinese company... This is the end of Leicas mojo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are allowing your prejudices to get the best of you. They said the same when Leica opened their factory in Midland, Ontario or the facility in Portugal

      Delete
  7. Leica definitely is getting the jump on the competition, just as they did with the first professional mirrorless camera.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right. The market for small, digital cameras is quickly disappearing and the DSLR market has gone down considerably as well.

      Delete