Nokia investing in Pelican Imaging to enhance Lumia photo capabilities
Nokia (NYSE:NOK) plans to invest in photo services startup Pelican Imaging in an effort to differentiate its Windows Phone-powered Lumia smartphone series from devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, Bloomberg reports.
Pelican Imaging specializes in array camera technology that leverages multiple optics within a single self-contained module, allowing users to tweak photos after they have been captured. Array cameras "are on the cusp of being commercialized, and Pelican does software for that," Nokia Growth Partners' Bo Ilsoe said. "It's very complicated to do this algorithmically, and Pelican is one of the companies that has mastered this." Imaging quality is one of the three biggest reasons consumers purchase or return a smartphone, Ilsoe added.
Nokia Growth Partners has been tracking Mountain View, Calif.-based Pelican since the firm launched in 2008, Ilsoe said. Globespan Capital Partners, Granite Ventures, InterWest Partners and IQT have also invested in Pelican. Ilsoe did not specify the total value of the pending Nokia investment, but Bloomberg notes its typical investments range between $4 million to $7 million and are usually capped at about $15 million. Nokia Growth Partners has around $600 million under management.
Nokia has made camera functionality a key selling point of the Lumia line. Notable examples include GIF making app Cinemagraph, which enables users to add motion to still photographs, identifying elements optimized for animation; the Smart Shoot app lets users mix and match components from a sequence of photos, swapping in perfect smiles and swapping out unwanted distractions, while the Panorama app synchronizes multiple images to create panoramic views.
In mid-2012, Nokia acquired Scalado, integrating the company's image capturing, viewing and creating technologies into its Windows Phone devices. Nokia Growth Partners has also invested in image-sensing technology firm InVisage and micro-optics maker Heptagon.
- read this Bloomberg article
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