Nokia, the Finnish smartphone company, wants better cameras in its smartphones. Nokia Growth Partners, the manufacturer’s venture arm, is investing $20 million with other partners in California-based startup Pelican Images, which commercializes technology that improves on conventional camera technology including pixel size.
Bloomberg reported recently that Nokia hopes better cameras will help the competitively priced Lumia compete with rivals from Apple Inc. and those using the Android operating system. Nokia shares have fallen more than 80 percent since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. Nokia was once at or near the top of lists of most popular phones but now has just 3 percent market share.
Pelican Images offers thinner hardware, better image quality and more editing capabilities, according to the company. Here’s how the company describes its camera technology in a prepared release:
“Pelican Imaging’s computational camera technology provides depth mapping at every pixel, enabling ‘the perfect picture’ every time and allowing users to perform an unprecedented range of selective focus and edits, both pre- and post-capture. The camera itself is about 50% thinner than existing mobile cameras.”
Pelican’s technology is “at the cutting edge of mobile camera technologies,” asserts a spokesman for Nokia Growth Partners. Nokia has bought or invested in other image-related technology companies in the past year. Those include Sweden-based Scalado, as well as California-based InVisage Technologies Inc. and Singapore-based Heptagon.
Why small businesses should care about cameras
Small business owners and their teams are using cameras in phones for all sorts of things these days: customer service calls, impromptu shots to share on Facebook, and even marketing images of products for your online store or blog posts.
With the Web becoming more visual today, most of us need more images than ever. Quality, cost and speed all have to be balanced when it comes to photography. Images taken by a professional photographer are still going to be used for some purposes. For other purposes, an impromptu and informal shot taken by one of the team — perhaps at a customer site or in the field — may be in order. For those kinds of shots, you want high quality images and practically-speaking, that requires a high-quality camera in a smartphone.
The Nokia Lumia line runs on Windows software, which also tends to be used in laptops and desktop computer systems used by small businesses. Nokia often touts its cameras in its Lumia marketing materials today.
Lumia image credit: Nokia