Juha Alakarhu, an engineer formerly working for Nokia who was included in the Microsoft takeover, has announced on Twitter that he has left Microsoft and has moved back to Nokia. Juha is the man partially behind Nokia's PureView camera technology and joined Microsoft when the American software company bought Nokia, seemingly to ensure that at least one device manufacturer supported its struggling Windows Phone operating system. Since then, Windows Phone and the follow-up device platform, Windows 10 Mobile, has continued to struggle. After years and billions of dollars in investment, Microsoft decided to stop aggressively pushing its mobile operating systems and is now concentrating on the underlying services and applications that are used to access its services. The company is not ignoring mobile platforms, far from it as we have seen it push advancements with its Apple iOS and Google Android versions of popular applications such as Microsoft OneCloud and Microsoft Office.
Juha has rejoined Nokia as the head of its Ozo virtual reality camera division, where he is the head of imaging. Nokia's PureView imaging technology produced several smartphones with amazing-sounding cameras, such as the 2012 Nokia 808 PureView running on the Symbian OS. The Nokia 808 PureView wrapped a 41MP main camera together with clever optics and oversampling software (designed obtain maximum detail through combining the input of several pixels from the sensor to the image) to provide astounding images. Nokia's later 2013 Lumia 1020 used Windows Phone, which had been specially modified in order to handle the 42MP main camera. Although these oversampling high quality cameras did not make it onto every Nokia Lumia (and subsequently Microsoft Lumia) device, Juha is in part responsible for Windows Phone's reputation for offering the best cameras in the industry, model for model. His departure from Microsoft should not change how the company uses cameras; Microsoft licence the PureView technology as and where needed. It has been unclear how much Microsoft will continue to use PureView camera technology in their slimmed-down, business-orientated Windows Phone range after retreating from the consumer space and instead working on their platform and applications.
Juha's arrival at Nokia's virtual reality business division gives the Finnish company a new leader in the field of smartphone optics. It is going to be interesting to see what influences and changes Juha can make on the platform and what models eventually receive any new developments. Virtual reality software is still very much in its infancy with developers and engineers still experimenting with hardware and software solutions to the computational technical problems that must be overcome. And good luck to Juha, seen below holding one of his PureView camera modules.