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Nokia to invest in fancy camera tech to boost Lumia PureView

Nokia is planning to invest in camera start up Pelican Images, in hopes of luring customers away from Android and Apple phones.

Nokia has its eyes on brand-new camera tech in a bid to win back customers from the smart phone competition. The Finnish phone fabricator is planning to invest in Pelican Imaging, a California based startup that specialises in developing new camera technology, Bloomberg reports.

Pelican's cameras not only take high-quality photos, they also allow you to adjust and refocus your images after they've been taken, the company claims -- something that normally requires an additional, very expensive and complicated lens.

So how does it work? As the video above explains, these fancy cameras use several tiny lenses, instead of one large lens. Each lens takes a photo, and software makes one photo out of all the data captured from all the lenses.

This also means that you end up with several versions of the same photo, all slightly different, which allows you to refocus the image as you please. Using several lenses rather than one large lens makes this technology more compact and portable.

"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, Nokia's venture capital arm, which has had its eye on the Californian startup since its inception in 2008.

This is not Nokia's first foray into high-quality cameras. Last year it released the 808 PureView (pictured top), which featured an extraordinary 41-megapixel sensor, but was bafflingly powered by the outdated Symbian operating system.

If Nokia ever needed a big selling point like this it is now: the worldwide smart phone market is dominated by Apple and Android devices, with Nokia phones making up a mere 3 per cent. The company also reported a £125m loss for the first quarter of this year, although that was much more palatable than the vast £1.1bn it lost in the second quarter of last year. 

Nokia has an upcoming Lumia event on 14 May, and CNET UK will be there updating you with all the action. Let me know what you'd like to see there in the comments below, or on our Facebook page