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Carl Zeiss Rekindles Nokia Partnership


Carl Zeiss Rekindles Nokia Partnership

Will we see another 41-megapixel Zeiss-branded smartphone camera? Perhaps, but the two companies are also looking to improve cameras for augmented reality.

Lens-maker Carl Zeiss will once again grace the cameras—and perhaps several other components—of Nokia smartphones.

The two brands rekindled their partnership on Thursday, announcing a wide-ranging if slightly vague mission to pair Zeiss technology with Nokia software, services, displays, and optic design. The pair's previous collaboration started more than a decade ago, before the Finnish conglomerate HMD Global purchased the once-mighty Nokia brand in an attempt to revive it for the smartphone era.

"The partnership will see Zeiss and HMD Global co-develop standard-defining imaging capabilities and will bring the Zeiss brand back to Nokia smartphones," the companies said in a statement.

The brand's previous appearances on Nokia phones were head-turning, but ultimately failed to give Nokia the edge it needed to compete against the likes of Apple and Samsung. They included the 41-megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020, which PCMag deemed the best camera phone on Earth when it was released in 2013.

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Despite its copious megapixels and lossless digital zoom, the Lumia 1020's major downfall was its Windows Phone operating system, which was already niche in 2013 and has now all but disappeared from smartphones in the US market.

The new partnership could produce a super-megapixel Android smartphone for photography enthusiasts as a successor to the Lumia 1020, but it will just as likely focus on smartphone cameras' new role as one of the main ingredients that power augmented reality and live video apps. Nokia and Zeiss aren't ruling anything out at this point.

"Video is an area we could see a lot of innovation in," HMD's chief marketing officer, Pekka Rantala told CNET. "Definitely AR is one of the big things. And we are here to brainstorm."

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