Nokia is getting back in the game, starting with a virtual reality camera

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Meet Ozo, Nokia’s new 360-degree camera for virtual reality content creators.

Nokia, a king in the flip-phone era, was crushed when people switched to smartphones. Nokia introduced a virtual-reality camera called Ozo late Tuesday, aiming to become the first company to actually sell a professional camera capable of capturing 3D VR video.The Finnish telecoms equipment maker unveiled OZO – a ball containing eight cameras and microphones that allows users to film in 360 degrees – at an event in Los Angeles on Tuesday. OZO marks the first hardware launch since Nokia sold its devices business to Microsoft for $7.5 billion last year as it looks to reassert itself as an innovative company. The camera is part of a full-blown production solution, allowing filmmakers to review footage in real-time and export video that has been properly stitched together with little delay.

It’s the company’s initial product for what it sees as a broad push into immersive media, which enables people wearing special headsets to rotate to watch nearly 360 degrees of a filmed or animated scene. Previously, the ability to create virtual reality film could take a long time as different images needed to be stitched together to create the effect. “OZO aims to advance the next wave of innovation in VR by putting powerful tools in the hands of professionals who will create amazing experiences for people around the world,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia’s Technologies division, said in a statement.

Nokia is billing its Ozo camera as the first high-quality device to be designed for shooting virtual reality cinema, and it’s planning to sell it for thousands of dollars to professionals. Nokia isn’t the only company looking to build a VR recording solution: Samsung teased such a camera at its developer conference last year, but has released no new information about the project since. Jaunt – a VR film studio – said it would be Nokia’s launch customer and offer OZO in its studios as well as using footage filmed by the camera in post-production. Google announced a relatively low-cost system consisting of 16 GoPro cameras at its own developer conference this year, and job ads suggest that the search company may even be building a full-blown VR camera system. We expect that virtual reality experiences will soon radically enhance the way people communicate and connect to stories, entertainment, world events and each other.

In the end, there may be more than one winner: Some of these companies may build more affordable rigs for YouTubers looking to explore VR, while others prepare themselves for Hollywood to spend big bucks. With ozo, we plan to be at the heart of this new world.” It is the most significant consumer hardware launch from Nokia ever since it sold the devices and services businesses to Microsoft in 2013.

Final pricing and full technical specifications will be announced at a future date, with shipments anticipated in the fourth quarter of this year, the company added. Jaunt, a start-up that’s been at the forefront of making virtual reality films and editing software, is partnering with Nokia to be an early adopter.

While Google, Samsung and Facebook are racing to be the first to launch their respective products, others like Microsoft have already managed to impress many with the HoloLens. Recently, OnePlus launched its next flagship, the OnePlus 2, at a VR launch event, which turned out to be unique and something never seen during smartphone launch before. Though there are no plans to come to Los Angeles, Haidamus said the region has become increasingly important because of the virtual reality community.

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