HMD hopes Zeiss can restore 'Nokia' phones to their former glory

HMD is betting that strong cameras will help its mobile brand's comeback.

Nokia's strong reputation in phone photography stemmed in no small part from its use of Carl Zeiss optics. Whether you had an N95 or a Lumia 1020, you knew the glass wouldn't let you down. But what's happening now that HMD Global is the one making Nokia-branded phones? Are they doomed to photographic mediocrity? Apparently, you can relax. HMD has struck a deal that will see Zeiss' imaging tech used in Nokia handsets. It won't just be limited to lens design, either. The two plan to work together on "standard-defining imaging capabilities" ranging from software to screen quality.

The two companies aren't revealing specifics or launch dates for the first Zeiss-equipped phones in the HMD era.

However, it seems likely that HMD will bet on camera quality as a selling point as it moves to higher-end phones and expands sales to countries like the US. A rumored upcoming model, possibly called the Nokia 9, is believed to pack the dual rear cameras you see on many recent smartphones -- a Nokia brand photographer even posted a video that corroborated the leaks. While that specific device might not use Zeiss tech, HMD could clearly use the help as it steps up competition with camera-centric mobile rivals like Apple and Huawei.