China’s Xiaomi throws down gauntlet to rival Android handset makers, Apple with launch of Leica Camera-equipped smartphones
- The new 12S-series smartphones unveiled by Xiaomi feature advanced imaging systems co-engineered with German partner Leica
- The launch reflects Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s pledge to ratchet up the firm’s challenge to Apple in the high-end segment of the smartphone market
Xiaomi’s three new Android models, including the top-of-the-line 12S Ultra, combine Leica’s in-depth understanding of optics, image processing and image quality with the 12-year-old Chinese firm’s experience in smartphone computing photography, according to a joint statement released in Beijing on Monday.
Xiaomi’s new 12S Ultra, which the company touts as the first Android device to support Hollywood-style Dolby Vision high-definition video recording and playback, starts from 5,999 yuan (US$895). Prices for the 12S Pro and 12S start from 4,699 yuan and 3,999, respectively.
Shares of Xiaomi in Hong Kong closed down 3.47 per cent to HK$13.36 on Tuesday.
“For almost a decade now, we have been successfully incorporating our know-how into camera systems in the smartphone segment,” said Matthias Harsch, Leica’s chief executive, in a separate statement released on Monday in the firm’s home city of Wetzlar, Germany. “Today, we and Xiaomi have come together to present the beginning of a new era in the world of smartphone photography.”
Apple’s iPhone also continued to lead the world’s premium smartphone market segment, covering handsets priced from US$400, with a 62 per cent share in the first quarter this year, according to data released by Counterpoint Research on June 23. It said the iPhone 13 has been the world’s bestselling premium smartphone since October last year.