After calling it quits from the smartphone game a couple of years ago by selling their handset division, its main business unit to Microsoft for just $7.2 billion, Nokia has been pursuing ways to reinvent itself. Back in July, the company announced it was working on a Virtual Reality (VR) camera. Called OZO, it would be capable of filming 360-degree videos for professionals such as filmmakers and TV directors. By that time, we didn't have any pricing information nor release date and when the device was announced, The Verge estimated it would cost more than $5,000. Today we just got news about the OZO, and they got it right because it will cost a lot more than 5K – the final price will be some astonishing $60,000.
Before you wonder who would pay that much money for a camera, it is important to know that its focus is the professional market. VR technology is still largely unknown (ask your parents and two random friends if they know about it), but big tech companies are investing hard to make it become mainstream. The most noticeable example is Facebook as they introduced 360-degree video playing on their platform. YouTube couldn't be away from the game either and the video platform also supports this new gig. Additionally, there are several initiatives to bring VR to the user, such as Google's Cardboard and Samsung's Gear VR, and more advanced systems like the Oculus Rift. However, while there are several options for consumers, professional video creators still don't have an easy way for creating 360-degree videos. The most important aspect for a film or TV director is the ability to watch what is being shot in real time, and this is exactly where Nokia strikes, as OZO is capable of reproducing what it is capturing with ease via their software and exclusive technology.
The device itself looks simple but interesting, as it is just a ball with several cameras. A good aspect is that Nokia crafted OZO with flexibility in mind, and it has a set of handles and docking stations that makes it possible to be attached in several places such as long tripods or even a drone. The device comes with what Nokia calls "OZO digital cartridge", which bundles together the battery and 500 GB of storage, with each cartridge being able to record up to 45 minutes – and after it is gone, the filmmaker can just replace it and keep recording, just like a gun. As mentioned before, the camera cost $60,000 and the accessories are not cheap either. Each digital cartridge cost $5,000, the docking station will go for $1,500, and a media module is priced at $2,500. There are additional accessories labeled as "coming soon", such as handlers and a camera cover, and their prices are likely to be high, also.
The company says it plans to make it more accessible eventually, so more regular consumers with a "pro" touch (called "prosumers") can also put their hands on it by making it available in rental houses. Additionally, Nokia has already partnered or is in talk with some important content creators, including National Geographic and NASA to boost mainstream video creation. The OZO camera will ship in the first quarter of 2016, and if by any chance you are interested, just head out to their website on the source link.