A new cross-licensing patent deal signed by Nokia and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi will bring increased collaboration between the two companies. One area of focus in which both Nokia and Xiaomi have already agreed to work together is augmented reality.
Rajeev Suri — President and CEO of Nokia — stated that this partnership will lead to exciting products.
Xiaomi is one of the world's leading smartphone manufacturers and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with them. In addition to welcoming such a prominent global technology company to our family of patent licensees, we look forward to working together on a wide range of strategic projects.
The new deal will allow the companies to cross-license cellular patents, provide Xiaomi with several of Nokia's patents, and give Xiaomi network equipment from Nokia. The companies will also collaborate on IP transport solutions. However, an intriguing component of the deal is that both companies agreed to consider further collaboration in areas like Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and — most interesting to us here at Next Reality — augmented reality.
So far, Nokia's hasn't worked extensively in the field of augmented reality. Back in 2012, the company experimented with Nokia City Lens on the Lumia 820 and 920. This listed out interesting spots in an area over a normal camera view.
In 2013, the company unveiled a similar feature on Windows phones when it added an AR app called LiveSight to its Here Maps app. This feature also placed an overlay of key sights in an area over the device's lens, using color-coded icons to convey the type of location displayed. Potential location categories included Hotels, Food, and Fun.
While Nokia has explored AR to an extent, this is an entirely new venture for Xiaomi. This partnership appears to be Xiaomi's first indication of a serious interest in exploring augmented reality. It's not yet clear exactly what AR work the companies intend to do together, but it will be interesting to see what is produced by this partnership.
Screenshots by Sarah Tseggay/Next Reality