The news from Nokia at the beginning of this month raised a lot of questions from our readers. In particular, there has been a great deal of interest in what the news will mean for Nokia’s imaging team, and of course the imaging capabilities of Nokia phones.
After all, Nokia has an incredible history of camera phones, and long may it continue.
We recently had the chance to catch up with Samuli Hänninen, vice president of software program management for Nokia’s Smart Devices business, who gave us his insights about what this all means. Overall, you can expect to see changes – for the better.
“Our vision is to change the way people capture memories,” Samuli said. “Together with Microsoft, we will be even better equipped to do so.”
What does the Nokia/Microsoft announcement from Sept. 3 mean to you and the work of your team?
Samuli: We’ve been working closely with Microsoft over the past years and continue to do so.
Specifically, when we worked on the imaging capabilities on the Nokia Lumia 1020, close collaboration with them was super important. In order to ship on time, both parties stayed up for nights.
But I have to say that although our working relationship with Microsoft was very close and unique in many ways, we were part of different companies, which obviously set some rules for engagement and prevented us from sharing everything.
Now we are looking forward to what we can achieve when we will be part of Microsoft and can be truly open. We are looking forward to the amazing stuff we can build together!
Does this suggest there will be more rapid development for your work in Imaging?
Samuli: Speed has been important to us in the past, and will continue to be. In addition, we want to consider: What is the end-to-end experience for the people who use our devices? We want to make sharing memories (21st century negatives) super easy, and Microsoft has strong assets to help us do just that.
What will happen to PureView?
Samuli: PureView stands for the best imaging experiences on our devices and we will continue to innovate in this area. The Nokia Lumia 720 was a great example of us bringing a stunning camera to market with our widest aperture to date, but it didn’t carry the PureView name.
The most important thing is what we do, not what it is called, although we like PureView a lot.
Do these changes affect our relationship with Zeiss?
Samuli: Zeiss is our long term partner and I don’t see any reason why that would change.
What will happen to the imaging experts on your team?
Samuli: We have a team that has delivered serious innovations in imaging and the work continues.
For people who build products, the most important things are the ability (to do your job), and having the resources you need to do it. With combined resources and talent from Nokia and Microsoft, we’re excited about the cool things we will be able to build together in future.
Does more responsibility to help you innovate fall to third party app developers?
Samuli: Seldom can you achieve great things only by yourself, and as you know, we have released the Imaging SDK, and we will continue on that path to make sure innovation is available for developers. We will continue to invest in that in the future.
We have groundbreaking and low-level (in the stack) innovation. There’s no way we can harvest all of these innovations on our own, and we gladly invite app developers to help us there. We see great opportunities for them.
So is the picture going to be worth more than 1,000 words?
Samuli: We want people to capture memories, but sometimes it is hard to understand the memory without knowing the context of the situation. For instance, what was the news of the day, the weather, who was there at the time the picture was taken?
When you press the camera button on the screen, it captures the light from a camera sensor. But that sensor can also capture the location, or whatever metadata is available from the place you are in, or from the Internet. There is something special about this place or time that is relevant to the situation.
We want to make the picture equal a million words! It is not just a picture, it is your memory.