Nokia OZO VR Camera Available For $60,000 - InformationWeek

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Nokia OZO VR Camera Available For $60,000

Virtual reality moves a little closer to the mainstream with the launch of Nokia's $60,000 OZO virtual reality camera.

VR, Smartwatches, Wearables: 8 Cool Gadgets From MWC
VR, Smartwatches, Wearables: 8 Cool Gadgets From MWC
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

This week, Nokia Technologies announced the commercial availability of the OZO virtual reality camera at a launch event in Los Angeles as the company looks to attract Hollywood attention to its expensive new hardware.

The Nov. 30 media event featured a live performance by the band Best Coast, broadcast in full 3D 360 VR from the roof of the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles over Internet protocol seven miles away.

The company is looking to define a new category in professional VR capture, by introducing to the market innovative features such as real-time VR preview, wireless operation, and full 3D 360 audio and video broadcast capabilities.

The first in a planned portfolio of digital media solutions from Nokia Technologies -- the company's advanced technology and licensing business -- OZO captures stereoscopic 3D video through eight synchronized global shutter sensors and spatial audio through eight integrated microphones.

(Image: Nokia Technologies)

(Image: Nokia Technologies)

Priced at $60,000, the OZO is out of reach for the vast majority of consumers, and Nokia is pitching the device at commercial and artistic video professionals.

The OZO features spherical and stereoscopic video capture with spatial audio array, a progressive scan video sensor with global shutter, and the angle of view for each lens is195 degrees.

Available in Lava Gray, the OZO also boasts WiFi enabled remote control operation, a fanless cooling system, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and weighs nearly 10 pounds.

Video and audio content filmed using OZO can then be published for consumption on VR hardware like head mounted displays (HMDs), and the platform also works with third-party tools.

"We're at the dawn of an exciting new medium that will transform the way people connect to stories, events, and the world around them," Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, wrote in a statement. "OZO is a powerful tool designed for the professional creators who will answer the most exciting and intriguing questions about the possibilities for virtual reality."

Nokia is not the only player in the 360-degree camera market, however. At this year's at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, GoPro announced it is building a similar camera array for stereoscopic, spherical content capture that could then be published onto VR headsets.

Adding to the competition is startup Object Theory, a software development company focused on the creation of mixed reality applications for Microsoft HoloLens -- a set of glasses designed to project holograms onto real-world objects.

A survey of 2,250 US consumers focusing on expectations and preferences on VR, which was released earlier this month by Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research, found only 11% of consumers would spend $1,000 on a VR platform.

[Read how Microsoft and Nokia are using HoloLens to sell cars.]

An April report from analyst firm Digi-Capital forecast that combined augmented reality and virtual reality markets could hit $150 billion in revenue by 2020, with AR taking the lion's share around $120 billion and VR at $30 billion.

"We think VR's addressable market is primarily core games and 3D films, plus niche enterprise users," according to the report. "We think AR's addressable market is similar to the smartphone/tablet market. So AR could have hundreds of millions of users, with hardware price points similar to smartphones and tablets."

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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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