Just a few days ago Nokia announced they would be holding a live event in L.A., and without any other detail than the day of the event we were all left to wonder what they could be announcing. Your first thought may be smartphones, but their contract with Microsoft isn't over so they can't legally build smartphones with the Nokia branding yet. Earlier this morning details surfaced which state that Nokia plans to announce some kind of virtual reality device next week, so although it isn't a smartphone, VR may still be a good move for Nokia in terms of producing new technology and products.
As it stands, VR is still a very early and very new space for modern technology. Sure, there have been virtual reality products before in the past but nothing on scale or on par with what's becoming available today and certainly not on the scale of availability for consumers. VR is also a very popular space of exploration right now between many top brands including Microsoft who currently owns Nokia's phone business. You almost can't turn your head in any direction without seeing something VR related from one company or another, even new startups like OnePlus are dabbling in VR by presenting their July 27th live stream in virtual reality for those who have a VR headset. They even sent out free OnePlus Cardboard VR units to anyone who requested one.
You also have major brands like Samsung and HTC which are both developing products for the virtual reality space, so it almost makes sense to see another well-known brand like Nokia enter into this market. Their opportunity therein lies with the chance to reach a wide variety of consumers. Should they produce something which has a much more open compatibility with many different handsets than Samsung's Gear VR, then they could be providing VR experiences on par with or better than Gear VR but without device compatibility restraints. There's also the chance that their VR product may not be a headset at all, or that it could be something more akin to Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus from Sony which doesn't require a handset to function. There are a lot of unknowns at this point and rightfully so since Nokia hasn't yet announced the product officially.
Nokia has a strong opportunity here though to establish themselves in a technology market which still has much-unclaimed dominance. There isn't much content yet to speak of which is attention grabbing enough to sway mass amounts of consumers to go out and buy a VR unit of some kind, but content is coming and when it's available in larger quantities, people might be more apt to check things out, especially if devices are coming out at an affordable cost. Nokia Technologies, the advanced technologies group of Nokia which is said to be working on development for the upcoming VR product, is also the same portion of the company which develops HERE Maps, so there could be some compatibility between the two products which would be interesting. Nokia's VR product could be more in the way of Augmented Reality which would allow people to bring up an overlay of HERE maps for directions. Whatever the case may be, Nokia producing a VR device is potentially a strong move with virtual reality growing into a more popular category.