Nokia invests in Pelican Imaging. Are LightField enabled Nokia Smartphones Next?

Nokia invests in Pelican Imaging. Are LightField enabled Nokia Smartphones Next? (Mockup: Remember the recent headlines about Pelican Imaging? Less than a month ago, the company promised powerful 20 $ LightField modules, to be integrated into Smartphones by mid-2014.

Now, Bloomberg reports that Nokia is investing 20 Million Dollars into Pelican Imaging’s research:

Nokia Growth Partners, the venture-capital arm of Nokia (NOK1V) Oyj, plans to invest in California startup Pelican Imaging as the phonemaker seeks to win back customers from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Android devices with cameras that give greater depth and ease of splicing together images.

The Pelican investment is part of a push to differentiate Nokia as it tries to stimulate demand in its Lumia smartphones, which run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows software, to reverse falling sales and recover market share.

Meanwhile, Pelican Imaging has collected a total of 37 million dollars in venture funding:

Pelican Imaging has now raised a total of $37 million in venture funding. Existing investors Globespan Capital Partners, Granite Ventures, InterWest Partners and IQT all participated in the company’s latest round.

“The support from industry leaders like Qualcomm Ventures and [Nokia Growth Partners] really underscores the validity of our technology in the marketplace,” Pelican Imaging CEO Christopher Pickett said, “The continued backing from our current investors is a reflection of their confidence in our technology and our ability to execute in order to disrupt the mobile photography space.”

Nokia, struggling to stay afloat in the smartphone market with less than 5 % of current market share, has been investing heavily into smartphone technology, specifically the photography part: They acquired photography software maker Scalado last july, and has recently introduced the 808 PureView phone, which boasts a 41 megapixel camera.
Will a smartphone with Lytro-like refocus capabilities be the bonus that will get people to switch over from other platforms? Would you consider buying into another smartphone ecosystem for LightField technology?


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