This is NOT an article about “VR is not moving as fast as predicted”. This is NOT an article that will talk trash about the Technology, using personal opinions rather than actual facts. Because anyone using this news to support their personal claim is doing no service to anyone but themselves. The fact is that VR Headsets are being purchased at a faster rate than Tablets and Wearables.
Now that I got that out of my chest… Onto the actual news of the day: Nokia has announced that it is stopping the development of its high-end OZO 360º VR Camera, and by extension, cutting 310 jobs.
Having seen its dominance of the mobile phone market shrink to nothing in the wake of smartphones from Samsung and Apple, Nokia in 2015 pivoted to the nascent VR market. It launched the Ozo, a $60,000 device with eight cameras, eight microphones and capable of shooting professional-grade 360-degree video for viewing through a VR headset.
The camera was recently used by broadcasters at some Sporting events, including the 2017 EUFA Champions League Final soccer match, where VR video was streamed live to viewers at home. A year after it went on sale, the $60,000 Ozo was reduced by Nokia to $45,000.
From the Official Press Release: In digital media, the slower-than-expected development of the VR market means that Nokia Technologies plans to reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities. The unit aims to halt development of further versions of the OZO VR camera and hardware, while maintaining commitments to existing customers.
“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,” said the company’s president, Gregory Lee, in the press release.
To blame the adoption curve is an easy statement to make, though not necessarily something I can agree with. In my humble opinion, what killed the OZO is the camera’s Pricing and overly-complicated workflows. Nokia was never a Camera company. This was never their strength. I know many regular and 360 Video Professionals that questioned how Nokia even ended up creating a camera.
This news immediately made me think about the Samsung 3D 360 Camera, which I saw and played with at the North American Broadcast Show (NAB Show). Expectations are sky high from one of the Leaders of the 360VR Industry, and both Pricing and Workflow are part of the questions we cannot wait to have answered during next week’s Samsung Developer Conference.