Nokia Technologies, once known around the world as a mobile phone manufacturer before exiting the industry last year, is returning to the consumer market with a new focus on virtual reality.
Nokia has unveiled OZO, a next-generation camera which can be used to capture 360-degree video with audio, during a Los Angeles event.
The camera is geared towards professional content creators, as opposed to general consumers.
"OZO aims to advance the next wave of innovation in VR by putting powerful tools in the hands of professionals who will create amazing experiences for people around the world," Nokia President Ramzi Haidamus said, adding that the company expects virtual reality to change how consumers communicate with each other.
"With OZO, we plan to be at the heart of this new world."
The announcement adds another name to the growing list of high-profile companies in the technology industry that are entering the virtual reality space, which looks to immerse users in artificial 3D worlds.
According to Nokia, the OZO will be recording stereoscopic 3D videos and spatial audio using a total of eight synchronized global shutter sensors and another eight microphones integrated in the camera. Content recorded by the OZO camera can then be used for hardware that supports virtual reality technology, such as the VR headsets that are making their way into consumer markets.
Nokia is expected to start shipping the OZO camera in the fall season. However, no price details have been released so far for the device.
The OZO camera signals the new direction for Nokia, after it exited the handset industry that it once dominated. The company was not able to swiftly adapt to the ever-changing trends of the smartphone market, falling far behind Apple and Samsung before agreeing to sell of its handset division to Microsoft for a sum of $7.2 billion.
Nokia is not the only company that is developing cameras to be able to enter the burgeoning virtual reality market. A couple of months ago in May, action camera company GoPro unveiled plans to release a camera that can take spherical video, which can then be pieced together to form a 360-degree environment for virtual reality application.
The virtual reality industry is now worth about $7 billion. At the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo held last month, there were 27 exhibitors that focused on virtual reality, a massive increase compared to the six exhibitors focusing on the technology from last year's E3.