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Nokia reportedly investing in Lytro-style array camera startup

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Nokia 808 PureView_1020
Nokia 808 PureView_1020

Nokia is eyeing an investment in Pelican Imaging, a California startup working on array camera technology for smartphones, according to Bloomberg. Array cameras offer similar benefits to Lytro's light field technique, allowing photographers to adjust an image's focus after it has been captured, but use a single self-contained module with multiple optics. This means they can forgo the traditional separate lens, making them more compact and appropriate for use in smartphones.

"It’s very complicated to do this algorithmically and Pelican is one of the companies that has mastered this technology," said Bo Ilsoe of Nokia Growth Partners, who added that the venture capital group has been watching Pelican since its founding in 2008. No details were given on when Nokia is planning to make the investment, or how large it might be.

Nokia has a long history of pushing high-quality cameras in its phones, with recent devices such as the 41-megapixel 808 Pureview and image-stabilizing Lumia 920 continuing that tradition. Bloomberg's report characterizes the investment as an attempt to further differentiate Nokia's Lumia line from Android devices and the iPhone. Last year, Nokia acquired imaging company Scalado and integrated its technology into Windows Phone handsets.