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Nokia is Back With a Virtual Reality Camera

Nokia has returned to the consumer space, but this time with a virtual reality (VR) camera rather than phones.

Nokia has returned to the consumer space, but this time with a virtual reality (VR) camera rather than phones.

The Finnish telecoms equipment maker unveiled OZO –- a ball containing eight cameras and microphones that allows users to film in 360 degrees -– at an event in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

OZO marks the first hardware launch since Nokia sold its devices business to Microsoft for $7.5 billion last year as it looks to reassert itself as an innovative company.

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The camera captures video in 3D and makes the images compatible with existing VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift. Nokia said that people using OZO can see the 3D rendering of a video in real-time. Previously, the ability to create virtual reality film could take a long time as different images needed to be stitched together to create the effect.

However, OZO is not a product for the broad consumer market.

"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," Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia's Technologies division, said in a statement.

There are a number of VR headsets on the market but content to watch has been scarce.

Nokia is looking to fill that gap with the camera.

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Jaunt –- a VR film studio –- said it would be Nokia's launch customer and offer OZO in its studios as well as using footage filmed by the camera in post-production.

Nokia is not alone in producing tools for VR filmmakers. Earlier this year, GoPro said it would release a mount for its spherical camera designed to help people film VR experiences. And at its developers' conference in May, Google unveiled a product called "Jump" –- a toolkit for people to create VR content.

Nokia said it would conduct "final testing and refinements" to OZO before the product's commercial release. Final pricing and full technical specifications will be announced at a future date, with shipments anticipated in the fourth quarter of this year, the company added.