July 15, 2020

The firm behind Nokia 9 PureView camera tech calls it quits on phones

The news comes a year after it signed partnerships with Xiaomi and Sony.

Nokia 9 PureView Review

 

  • Light has confirmed that it’s no longer involved in the smartphone industry.
  • The firm’s technology was heavily used in the Nokia 9 PureView.
  • It’s unclear what this means for Light’s deals with Sony and Xiaomi.

 

Camera firm Light debuted in the smartphone arena when it collaborated with HMD on 2019’s Nokia 9 PureView. The two companies worked together to create a rather interesting take on multi-lens photography.

Now, Light has confirmed to Android Authority that it’s “no longer operating in the smartphone industry.� The comment suggests that we won’t see future smartphones with Light technology in them.

For what it’s worth, the firm’s website promoted smartphone-based use-cases on its front page until July 31 2019, according to the Wayback Machine. From August 2019, it featured automotive use-cases instead.

The company first attracted attention in 2015 when it launched the Light L16 camera, a compact camera that actually featured 16 lenses. Light touted numerous benefits for this tech, including improved HDR and higher resolution shots. But the L16 received a mixed critical response, with reviewers bemoaning the almost $2,000 price, its processing speed, and disappointing low-light performance.

What does this actually mean?

The Light L16 camera.

The firm then teamed up with HMD for the Nokia 9 PureView, with the phone offering a quirky penta-camera setup. Rather than offering a variety of flexible cameras, such as main, ultra-wide, telephoto, and monochrome lenses, the Nokia 9 PureView delivered three 12MP monochrome cameras and two 12MP color cameras. No wide-angle action or telephoto capabilities here.

HMD marketed the phone for its more granular depth effects and improved HDR, but our own Eric Zeman bemoaned the inconsistent image quality in his Nokia 9 PureView review. More specifically, Eric noted that picture quality could vary wildly between “spectacular� and disappointing. He also noted that the camera app still suffered from performance issues after a major system update. Our own Edgar Cervantes tested the camera setup too, saying while it could take nice shots, it didn’t deserve the hype around it.

Nevertheless, Light announced two major partnerships in early 2019, teaming up with Xiaomi and Sony respectively. The former partnership was to have seen Xiaomi integrate Light imaging solutions into future phones. Meanwhile, the Sony partnership would see Light working to more tightly integrate its technology with Sony camera sensors.

We’ve asked both Sony and Xiaomi for comment regarding Light’s decision and what this means for their respective partnerships. We’ll update the article if/when they get back to us.

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