Update: some information in this article with regard to Leica's involvement in the P9 camera development is incorrect. Huawei has released a statement to clarify the issue.
When the Huawei P9 was launched recently, its unusual dual-camera grabbed headlines for a couple of reasons. On one hand, its innovative technological concept, with one 12MP sensor capturing RGB color information and a second 12MP chip exclusively recording monochrome image information, had not been seen in a smartphone before. On the other hand, a Leica badge next to the camera module had imaging enthusiasts speculating about just how much technology from the legendary German camera-maker had made it into the Chinese smartphone.
Huawei later provided additional information, saying the P9's camera module had been certified by Leica but the German company had not been involved in development or production of the optics. Now it has been revealed that the camera module in question is actually made by the Chinese company Sunny Optical Technology of China, which, according to "insider sources", is authorized to do so by Leica.
What exactly the authorization entails is unknown, but this is the first time Leica has cooperated in this way with a Chinese OEM. We'll have to wait and see if this is a mostly marketing driven one-off move by Leica and Huawei, or if the German brand is looking to get more involved with smartphone-makers. If true, a transfer of knowledge and technology in the mobile imaging sector could certainly benefit from such a strategy.