Nokia Growth Partners invests in Pelican imaging, smartphone expected to come in 2014

Nokia Growth Partners, the venture- capital arm of Nokia, have invested in Mountain View, California based Pelican Imaging which specializes in array camera technology for mobile devices.

Nokia is the world largest manufacturer of digital cameras and this investment is part of a push to differentiate Nokia and its products even further as it tries to stimulate more demand in its Lumia smartphones, which run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows software, to get more sales and recover market share.

Array cameras, which use multiple optics and mesh the data into one image, “are on the cusp of being commercialized and Pelican does software for that,” Bo Ilsoe, a partner at Nokia Growth Partners, said in a phone interview from California. “It’s very complicated to do this algorithmically and Pelican is one of the companies that has mastered this technology.”

Pelican Imaging’s computational camera technology provides depth mapping at every pixel, enabling “the perfect picture” every time and allowing users to perform an unprecedented range of selective focus and edits, both pre- and post capture. The camera itself is about 50% thinner than existing mobile cameras.

Engadget reached Pelican to try to find out more about them. On being asked if their array camera technology can be mixed with Nokia’s PureView camera technology which we have in 808 PureView and Lumia 920, company’s CTO, Kartik Venkataraman said:

“Our technology is not mutually exclusive with Nokia’s. We can take elements of what they’re doing and improve what we can do. There are some synergies that will lead to some pretty exciting possibilities that we’re actually beginning to work on today, although I can’t talk about it yet.”

When asked about when can we see this camera tech in a smartphone, Venkatraman said that they expects atleast one smartphone to use this tech in 2014. Seems fair enough.

We might see a nokia handset with bigger 41MP sensor + oversampling + OIS + Pelican’s array cam tech, next year. Probabilities are high. 😉


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