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Nokia kills off Ozo high-end virtual reality cameras

From BBC - October 10, 2017

Nokia is winding down its high-end virtual reality camera division.

The Ozo and its follow-up the Ozo+ had been marketed to professionals as being able to capture the "highest quality" 360-degree footage possible, and had been used by Disney among others.

But despite a recent price cut, the Finnish firm indicated that sales had been weaker than expected.

One expert said it reflected the fact that public appetite for VR content was still very limited.

In a statement, Nokia said it now planned to dedicate its efforts to developing smart health products instead, and would leave it to others to build on its work in VR.

"The slower-than-expected development of the VR market means that Nokia Technologies plans to reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities," it said.

"The unit aims to halt development of further versions of the Ozo camera and hardware, while maintaining commitments to existing customers."

It added that 310 jobs were being cut as a consequence, affecting posts in Finland, the UK and US.

Helicopter shots

The original Ozo was first unveiled in July 2015. The handheld device featured eight cameras and the same number of microphones in order to capture both spherical video and spatial sound.

It initially had a $60,000 (45,500) price tag, bringing it in line with the kind of other cameras commonly used for Hollywood movies and TV commercials.

Disney was one of the early adopters, using the equipment to create interactive behind-the-scenes footage for its Jungle Book film.

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