It looks as if Nokia wants a piece of the virtual reality pie. The company has announced a special VIP event in Los Angeles for next week, and word has it that it’s going to unveil a “major virtual reality project.” Taking place on July 28, sources close to the Finnish company told Re/code to expect a big VR-related announcement, reportedly part of the company’s plans to once again make its mark in the tech world.
There are no details on what form the expected product might take, or, if it’s a device, what it might look like. But all will be revealed in a matter of days. VR has been gaining much attention in the tech business of late, with major names such as Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung all investing heavily in the platform. Jumping into the VR space would surely mark Nokia’s boldest move in the consumer tech market since Microsoft bought its mobile phone unit two years ago.
Once the leading player in the mobile phone sector, Nokia’s business went south when it failed to keep pace with the fast-changing handset market, and was hit hardest when smartphones started to grow in popularity in the years following the release of the first iPhone in 2007. Rather than let another opportunity pass it by, its reported entry into the VR market looks like a concerted effort to position itself at the forefront of the platform’s development.
While its business now focuses primarily on telecommunications equipment, the company has continued to show interest, albeit fairly limited, in the consumer tech market, with the release at the beginning of this year of the Android-powered N1 tablet for consumers in China. There’s also talk of a new smartphone for 2016, the earliest possible launch date under the terms of the 2013 Microsoft deal.