Among the Chinese smartphone OEMs, it is becoming a growing trend to add the brand of a renowned camera maker to boost smartphone popularity. According to an article in Sam Mobile, this tactic only aims to fool possible buyers that the world’s top experts built their smartphone’s camera setup in the field. The article conludes that the camera-centric partnership between camera experts and Chinese OEMs exists only for hype-generating marketing strategies.
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OnePlus and Hasselblad
The report sets OnePlus as one example. Mihai, the writer of the article, said that the brand,partnered with Hasselblad for the incoming OnePlus 9 series.
This company is a 100-year-old Swedish company that manufactures camera lenses and scanners. However, its partnership with OnePlus will not involve any of this hardware. Instead, OnePlus would combine Hasselblad’s rich knowledge in traditional photography aesthetics with Sony’s main sensor to create their own OnePlus 9 series hardware. The brand name is no guarantee for the customer’s purchase quality, even if OnePlus claims that this partnership would continue to expand in the future.
Huawei and Leica
Huawei is using the same strategy with its popularity and its Leica-branded camera systems in the market. In terms of mobile photography, Huawei’s flagship sometimes performs arguably better than Samsung’s premium phones. However, the so-called Leica lenses equipped in these phones are not manufactured by Leica.
Simply put, Leica does not have the equipment or infrastructure to manufacture and build smartphone camera lenses. Instead, these Leica-branded mobile lenses are manufactured by a third-party. The third-party involved creates the mobile lenses following designs agreed upon by both Leica and Huawei.
Leica and Hasselblad are not owned by Huawei and OnePlus. The nature of their industry is different, and the partnership of these groups is ambiguous. The point remains that popular logos and brands oftentimes create effective marketing purposes for their customers.
Samsung Has Not Partnered With Renowned Camera Makers
There is another example of brand power, although easily overlooked. Samsung branded headphones are “tuned by AKG,” but this branding does not go beyond the marketing value. Audiophiles and other buyers do not think to check the ‘tuned by AKG’ brand to convince themselves that they are purchasing a pro-grade audio experience from Samsung. Granted that AKG is a Harman subsidiary and is officially owned by Samsung.
If the branding is for marketing purposes, why does the world’s biggest smartphone vendor not partner with another renowned camera maker to improve their mobile photography?
The exact reason is not provided; however, Samsung is confirmed to be manufacturing its own mobile camera sensors and lenses under the ISOCELL brand. If Samsung prefers to partner with a camera maker brand, choosing their own camera business is an available option. Simply put, Samsung might not find it profitable or easy to abandon their brand for the sake of another. Samsung operates differently from Huawei, OnePlus, and other OEMs.
In conclusion, Chinese OEMs partner with Leica and Hasselblad might be less about their expertise and more about the brand power. According to the market trends, these OEMs have more freedom for branding and rebranding their products, unlike Samsung who is invested in manufacturing their own mobile camera.
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Written by Czarina Grace Del Valle
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