Now sending Nokia what's-next watchers into a collective buzz: A story that Nokia is set to introduce a virtual reality product next week. Ina Fried in Re/code said the information came from sources "familiar with the company's plans."
Other sites tried to sort out what the introduction could signify but there were few details to work with. Edgar Cervantes in Android Authority commented, "Unfortunately, the details are scarce and these sources fail to provide any other information regarding this new product. Is it a headset? A platform? Content?" Lack of more specific details did not stop Nokia watchers from pondering what might be revealed next week.
The buzz is significant because it is attached to questions about what it may spell out for the company's future. The effort said Fried, would mark Nokia's most significant consumer hardware launch since it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2013.
Talking about what the impact on such a headset could mean for the company, David Nield in ReadWrite said, "Nokia's play for virtual reality could be even more important—or at least more exciting—than any attempt it could make to dip back into the saturated smartphone market." He said VR represented a brave new world for hardware and software with huge potential for the future.
When the Finland-based Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft there was an advanced product group that Microsoft did not buy—Nokia Technologies. That's the group that reportedly will show the product next week.
Nokia's key businesses have included HERE, for global mapping and location intelligence; Nokia Networks; and the abovementioned Nokia Technologies, with a focus on advanced R&D licensing and new-product businesses.
Earlier this month in Ubergizmo, Tyler Lee reported that Nokia Technologies had sent out an invitation that said "Nowhere: Now Here" referring to a coming event on July 28 in Los Angeles. "Save the date for a VIP event hosted by Nokia Technologies," said the invite. "It is possible that we might hear new product announcements in the form of wearable technology, VR headsets, and etc., but either way do check back with us on the 28th of July for the details," said Lee.
Nokia, meanwhile, has said little about its virtual reality plans, said Fried, and a "Nokia Technologies representative declined to comment, saying the company doesn't discuss rumors and speculation."
Nield said it was neither clear yet if the rumored headset would work off an existing platform, or "foist yet another on app developers." For developers, that's a key question to ask and consider. "Coding apps multiple times to support various platforms and devices plagued mobile developers for years."