Nokia’s had a very frantic last few years, being taken over then sold by Microsoft and with the brand effectively being killed in between that time. It’s been over a year since the buyout was finalised by former Nokia employees in Finland, after they formed HMD – a company name with the potential to cause a degree of confusion for a virtual reality (VR) website.
When it comes to VR, rumours first appeared back of their involvement back in 2015, and it was not long after that, that the OZO VR Camera was first revealed by Microsoft. Since then Nokia have been a relatively constant presence, appearing at events and working with multiple partners through the OZO VR camera. On everything from medical technology to Star Wars.
Unfortunately, for a company trying to find its place once again in the ever-changing world of technology and with the development of the VR market being “slower-than-expected”, Nokia has announced they are changing tack and will instead begin focusing on growing it’s brand and technology licencing and will be “optimizing” it’s investments in VR going forward. Concentrating more on digital healthcare, follow its purchase of Withings back in 2016.
What this all boils down to is an end of development on the OZO, both the camera and associated hardware.
This will result in job losses in the UK, US and Finland with up to 310 roles affected. Speaking on the decision, Gregory Lee of Nokia Technologies said; “Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity. While necessary, the changes will also affect our employees, and as a responsible company we are committed to providing the needed support to those affected.”
Support will still be given for existing customers, however it’s not clear how these cutbacks will close the door entirely on Nokia’s overall interest in VR going forward. Some of those who lose jobs may find roles at Varjo, a company set up by former Microsoft and Nokia employees and who are currently working on developing high-density VR displays.
VRFocus will, of course, bring you any further information as we get it as to Nokia’s future in immersive technologies.