Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
23rd Jul 2015
After selling-off its handset division to Microsoft, Nokia has hardly unveiled any consumer hardware device save for the China exclusive N1 tablet. Despite that, the company has a knack to be in the spotlight. If the speculations of the once market leader re-entering the phone market in 2016 weren't enough, the latest round of speculations suggests that Nokia would soon introduce its first virtual reality headset.
According to recode.net, Finns will unveil a VR wearable as early as next week. The product is said to be developed by Nokia Advanced Technologies, a division that the Finns retained during the Microsoft deal.
With its handset division gone, Nokia will want to keep the buzz around its brand by announcing a consumer product. And in this day and age, what's hotter than a VR headset? With its history dating back to 1865, Nokia has changed with time. Over the period of time, it produced papers, tyres, chemicals, gas masks (for Finnish military), before emerging as the top phone maker in 90s. So, you can't really write-off this company.
This not the first time we are hearing such rumours. In 2013, similar reports made rounds when the American company Vuzix joined hands with Nokia to take the VR headset development forward. Vuzix licensed Nokia's see-through (Exit Pupil Expanding) EPE optics technology for its head mounted displays and video eyewear.
Nokia may not have experience in the VR field, but this is where a collaboration with Vuzix holds a key. The Vuzix M100 was the first commercially available VR after-all. Yes, Google Glass came first, but it wasn't available to consumers, remember? The task is not simple either. To leave a mark in the VR space, Nokia will have to compete with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive (made in collaboration with Valve), Project Morpheus from Sony, Google Glass, and Microsoft Hololens.
If I have to guess, Nokia's VR product is unlikely to primarily focus on gaming. I believe that it will be more on the lines of Hololens where the virtual reality is fused with the world around you. No doubt that Nokia is more than capable of delivering something impressive. The only problem I see here is whether developers will show confidence in its platform. Or maybe, will Nokia take the HTC route to make use of Valve's platform or turn to its old partner Microsoft?
Nokia May Unveil Its Virtual Reality Headset Sooner Than You Expected
This could be company's most interesting consumer product after the Microsoft deal.
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