Nokia Reportedly Building Virtual Reality Hardware

It might be out of the smartphone business after selling it to Microsoft, but Nokia may be planning to find a niche in another area: virtual reality. The company is set to launch a VR product on July 28 at an event in Los Angeles, according to reports.

The announcement reportedly will be about a virtual reality hardware product that the company hopes will compete against established VR and augmented reality devices such as Microsoft's HoloLens, FacebookEUs Oculus Rift and Google-backed Magic Leap.

The report on the project appeared on the news Web site Re/code, which had reported three months ago that Nokia had a number of projects under development, including some in imaging and virtual reality. Nokia would be competing with companies such as Oculus VR, which was bought by Facebook earlier this year for $2 billion and whose first headset is due for release next year.

Tech Unit

The upcoming VR kit would be built by the Nokia Technologies unit, which handles the companyEUs patents and intellectual property and was behind last yearEUs N1 tablet that was sold in China. Nokia Technologies issued invitations to the event on July 28 that included the words: "Nowhere/Now Here," according to the report.

NokiaEUs maps business, which is reportedly on the market, is known as Here. Recent reports have said the company has signed or will soon sign a deal with Audi, BMW and Daimler to sell the mapping business for about $2.71 billion. Nokia also makes networking equipment, and is in the process of buying rival Alcatel-Lucent.

Will It Work?

Nokia Technologies, which would handle the VR venture, is the smallest of the company's three units, after Here and Networks. The three units remained after Nokia sold its device manufacturing arm to Microsoft in 2013. That transaction will likely keep Nokia from returning to the...

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