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Nokia - Zeiss Deal About Branding, Not Cameras

The news that Nokia and Zeiss names will once more feature on the same smartphones might seem like a reason for celebration. However the news is rather less exciting than it would appear on the surface.

From the N95, through the N8 and 808, to the 1020 and 930, Nokia and Zeiss rewrote the smartphone camera story. However the partnership is far from being reformed.

Nokia in this instance means HMD Global, the company responsible for branding Android phones with the Finnish giant's name. It has inherited none of the PureView technology or resources which made Nokia's smartphone cameras so great, because that team and knowledge went to Microsoft as part of the sale of Nokia Mobile to its Windows Phone partner.

Microsoft built the Lumia 950 - in the process creating the best smartphone camera yet - and then promptly canned the team responsible for all this good work. Some members subsequently found their way to Apple.

It was PureView which made the Nokia smartphone cameras great, Yes, Zeiss optics were important, but it was Nokia's technology which changed the game.

With none of that knowledge available to it, Nokia's deal effectively gives it a name to stick on the back of its phones in order to compete with Huawei's Leica partnership. Will either partnership ever offer up anything better than the stock Android camera experience?

So when a Nokia - Zeiss device does arrive pay close scrutiny to how the camera performs before buying into the hype. It's not going to herald a return to the good old days, no matter how much we'd like it to be true.


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