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Future Nokia phone cameras won't have ZEISS optics

The partnership quietly ended in 2021.

Published onJuly 25, 2022

nokia x100 camera bump
  • HMD Global has confirmed that future smartphones with the Nokia brand will no longer have camera hardware provided by ZEISS.
  • The partnership actually ended in 2021, but was made official today in a statement.
  • ZEISS is currently partnering with vivo for its smartphone cameras.

One of the biggest smartphone camera partnerships has come to a close. In a statement sent to Nokiamob, HMD Global confirmed that it has ended its long-running partnership with camera company ZEISS to provide optical hardware for its Nokia branded phones.

The statement said the partnership between the two companies actually ended in 2021. That means the Nokia XR20 phone was the last from HMD Global with ZEISS lens hardware inside.  HMD Global did not offer any reasons why its collaboration with ZEISS has ended. If we had to take a guess, Nokia could be looking to cut costs by removing ZEISS licensing from the picture — though that’s obviously just speculation at this point.

Back when Nokia actually made smartphones, it partnered up with ZEISS to improve its optics for smartphones. Nokia later sold its smartphone business to Microsoft, and then licensed its branding to HMD Global for making phones with the Nokia brand. In turn, HMD Global partnered with ZEISS in 2017 to improve its smartphone cameras. At the time, the agreement was supposed to not only include optics, but also for ZEISS to collaborate on new sensors and new imaging algorithms with HMD Global. This resulted in some impressive camera hardware inside branded phones like the Nokia 9 PureView and Nokia 8.3.

In late 2020, ZEISS announced another partnership, this time with vivo, to have its optics inside vivo smartphones. At the time, ZEISS said, “The partnership with Nokia continues and is non-exclusive.” However, that partnership only lasted another year or so. We will have to see what HMD Global will come up with in future Nokia phones in terms of its cameras.