Xiaomi and Light have just announced their partnership, just a couple of days after Sony and Light did the same, not to mention that the company helped HMD Global develop the Nokia 9 PureView camera setup. Light is one of the market leaders when it comes to advanced computational imaging, and considering these two partnerships, the company will be quite busy in the coming months / years. Sony and Xiaomi are huge companies, and have a ton of products in the pipeline.
Xiaomi and Light will "jointly develop and market new imaging solutions for smartphones", so their partnership is focused on smartphones, which is expected. Much like Sony and Light, these two companies will developer multi-image sensor solutions for smartphones, as that is Light's specialty, and it's clear at this point that pretty much every smartphone OEM has included two or more cameras on the back of their devices.
Much like with Sony, it will be interesting to see what will this partnership bring to the table, as Light has produced some really compelling products, and when that is merged with technology from Sony and Xiaomi… well, the results could be very interesting. It is clear that both Sony and Xiaomi are looking for an edge when it comes to smartphone photography, even though both companies have presented flagships with impressive cameras.
It is not yet clear what will be the first Xiaomi-branded phone to offer camera solutions co-developed by the two companies, and we don't even know if Light's branding will be present on Xiaomi's device, but chances are they will. In fact, this will probably be a similar deal as with Huawei & Leica, we may see Light's branding on the back of Xiaomi-branded devices which end up sporting the technology, probably the company's flagship lineups.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 4 is expected to arrive later this year, and it will be interesting to see if that is enough time for Light to leave its mark on Xiaomi's cameras, even though Mi MIX 4's camera tech has been in development for quite some time, probably. If not the Mi MIX 4, then the Mi 10 may include camera tech co-developed by the two companies, unless Xiaomi opts to release a brand new lineup just because of this partnership, which is unlikely.
We did not yet fully test the Xiaomi Mi 9 which was released quite recently, but we did get some hands-on time with the phone, and its cameras are quite impressive, at least that were our first impressions. We will review the device in the near future, but the camera quality on the phone is really high, so Light's technology can only further improve what Xiaomi has to offer. Based on these new partnerships, we are expecting to see significant improvements when it comes to camera quality in 2020, at the latest.
The Xiaomi Mi 9, as most of you know, has three cameras on the back, and interestingly enough, not a single one has OIS. Despite that, the phone is quite capable in both picture and video departments. The device was expected to ship with a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor on the back, like a number of other phones, but Xiaomi opted not to include it for some reason. In any case, stay tuned for our full review of the device.