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Here's what the vivo and ZEISS partnership means for Nokia phones (Updated)

Update: It sounds like it's business as usual for HMD Global.

Published onDecember 21, 2020

Nokia 7.2 ZEISS camera closeup
  • Camera lens company ZEISS has teamed up with vivo.
  • The vivo X60 series will offer a co-developed camera system.
  • ZEISS is still partnering with HMD Global though.

Update: December 21 2020 (12:25 AM ET): vivo and ZEISS announced a deep partnership last week, which will see the vivo X60 series carrying ZEISS branding and a jointly developed imaging system. We did however wonder what this meant for current ZEISS partner and Nokia brand licensee HMD Global.

“The partnership with Nokia continues and is non-exclusive,” a ZEISS representative told Android Authority in response to an emailed query. In other words, it sounds like you can expect ZEISS-branded Nokia phones in 2021 then.

Original article: December 14 2020 (2:33 AM ET): Nokia pushed the importance of mobile camera lenses in a big way thanks to its long-running partnership with ZEISS, offering high quality mobile camera optics. This tie-up extended to HMD Global, with the likes of the Nokia 9 PureView and Nokia 8.3 offering this branding.

Now, the German optics manufacturer has tied up with a new smartphone maker in vivo, as the Chinese mobile brand revealed that the upcoming vivo X60 series will carry ZEISS branding. Check out the images below.

A tiny machine-translated line of text in the first image suggests that ZEISS will be supplying camera lenses for the new phones. The company previously worked with HMD Global on software for Nokia-branded smartphones as well, so this is a possibility too.

The duo also confirmed a few more details on December 17, saying they would launch a joint imaging laboratory in China. The two companies revealed that a “vivo ZEISS co-engineered imaging system” will debut on the vivo X60 series, as you may have expected.

We’re also wondering whether this is an exclusive partnership, as it would be a major turn of events if HMD loses ZEISS as a partner for its smartphones. The German optics company has been associated with the Nokia name since the mid-2000s, with a short break before teaming up with HMD Global back in 2017.

We’ve asked vivo and ZEISS about what to expect from the partnership and whether it’s an exclusive deal, and we’ll update the article if/when the firms get back to us. Meanwhile, HMD has commented on news of the partnership, refusing to confirm or deny whether it’s still partnered with the optics maker.

“We welcome our friends at ZEISS expanding their reach in the smartphone market, and we look forward to seeing them develop quality imaging experiences,” HMD told Android Authority in an emailed response.

The Chinese OEM will likely reveal more details regarding the ZEISS partnership on December 17, while the vivo X60 series launch takes place on December 29. So we won’t have to wait too long to find out more info anyway.

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