Xiaomi & Leica Lab Launch; Mi 14 Ultra Out Feb 22

Xiaomi and Leica Launch Joint Optical Research Institute

On February 19, 2024, Xiaomi, a global leading consumer electronics and smart manufacturing company, and Leica Camera Company jointly announced the establishment of the “Xiaomi × Leica Optical Research Institute.” This research institution focuses on optical fundamental technologies and integrates various disciplines such as imaging digital technology and AI.

Xiaomi and Leica

Building upon the preliminary work of the “Xiaomi × Leica Optical Research Institute” team, both companies are advancing the development of a new mobile optical performance standard that encompasses the latest industry concepts, technologies, and user experiences. The newly released flagship imaging device Xiaomi 14 Ultra, is the first milestone in evolving this standard into practice, promising an unparalleled optical performance in the mobile imaging field, never seen before from Xiaomi and Leica.

The mission of the “Xiaomi × Leica Optical Research Institute” is to continuously enhance the innovation in mobile imaging optical technology, aiming to create an advanced mobile imaging optical system that leads the era. Leveraging the core strengths of Leica and Xiaomi, this research institute will focus on four major technological research directions: super-precision optical design, advanced high-performance computational photography, strict lens optical standards, and cutting-edge optoelectronic technology research and applications.

To achieve this goal, Xiaomi and Leica have invested substantial resources to form a joint deluxe team of over 200 experts. Peter Karbe, the legendary optical designer behind Leica’s fourth-generation lens series like Noctilux and APO, will serve as the optical expert. Zeng Xuezong, Senior Vice President of Xiaomi Group and President of the Mobile Phone Division, will be appointed as the Director. Ye Yan, Xiaomi Group’s software technology expert and Chief Imaging System Expert, and Wang Xuanran, General Manager and Chief Camera Expert of Xiaomi’s Camera Division, will serve as Deputy Directors.

Xiaomi has provided strong R&D support for the “Xiaomi × Leica Optical Research Institute” and has already planned to set up three camera labs in Beijing with a total floor area of 2644m², focusing on camera hardware, imaging, and objective and subjective image quality evaluations, aiming to become one of the industry’s largest and most automated camera labs.

Lu Weibing, Partner and President of Xiaomi Group, stated, “For a century, Leica has been dedicated to creating world-class optical lenses, representing exquisite optical engineering design and superb manufacturing processes. Xiaomi believes that ‘Light is the origin of images,’ the core and foundation of ‘giving reality depth.’ Through the ‘Xiaomi × Leica Optical Research Institute,’ we will further leverage each other’s strengths, continuously redefine the boundaries of mobile optical capabilities, and continue to lead the era of mobile optical imaging.”

Matthias Harsch, CEO of Leica Camera Company, commented, “In the past two years, the collaboration between Leica and Xiaomi has been outstanding. We have successfully integrated the iconic Leica photography experience into mobile imaging, exemplified by the joint creation of the Leica Summilux optical lens. The imaging system of Xiaomi 14 Ultra is our latest collaborative masterpiece, which will introduce the next generation of top-tier Summilux lenses in the mobile optical imaging field. Optical technology is Leica’s proudest accumulation of a century, and the establishment of the ‘Xiaomi × Leica Optical Research Institute’ will bring together the most elite teams from both sides in this field, jointly breaking the optical constraints of mobile imaging, creating a leading-edge mobile optical system and ushering in a new optical era of mobile imaging.”

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