Nokia announces it's buying Scalado, the company behind the cool BlackBerry 10 "time warp" camera functionality

By Kevin Michaluk on 14 Jun 2012 10:08 am EDT
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One of the cool BlackBerry 10 features previewed last month at BlackBerry World was the new "time warp" functionality in the camera app (see video above). The demo received a big round of applause and everybody out there was impressed. 

It didn't take long to figure out that the company Research In Motion was working with to bring this feature to BlackBerry 10 was Scalado, a Sweden-based company that is responsible for a ton of the innovation seen in digital imaging in recent years and owns a lot of the IP and tech in the space.

Today Nokia announced its plans to acquire Scalado, which of course includes their developers, technologies and Intellectual Property. It's a big move and no doubt will not be a "cheap" acqusition. A lot of mobile companies license tech from Scalado. I don't think this announcement will impact the "time warp" camera on BlackBerry 10 -- that's a done deal -- but with Nokia owning Scalado it likely means that moving ahead it will be Nokia and Windows Phone that get the biggest benefit from Scalado's innovation.

We know RIM likes to buy companies: QNX, TAT, Torch, Tiny Hippos, etc. and they've bought up every piece they have needed in patching together the next-generation BlackBerry 10 mobile platform (and I mean that in a good way). I have a pretty strong feeling that RIM would have taken a look at a company like Scalado too once they started working together. Maybe it was just too expensive or RIM. It's pretty interesting that Nokia is announcing an acquisition like this as they lay off 10,000 members of their workforce. Obviously Nokia thinks Scalado will be an imortant part of their strategy. It'll be interesting to watch what comes of all of this.

Source: Windows Phone Central

40 comments

jstarett

It would have been nice if RIM acquired this but oh well!

yanicmb

As long as this doesnt affect our bb10 phones from having the camera features they provide, we will be fine

sk8er_tor

If it would have been worth it, RIM would have acquired them just like they did with TAT, QNX, Gist, Jay Cut, and the list goes on and on.

guerllamo7

BlackBerry has been buying and making deals for several years now. I believe they have a vision and a plan to bring it all together with BB10.

Many may be underestimating the final product and platform. BB has been quietly working on all this, while continuing to run their business on the existing product line.

I'm glad the new CEO said the camera matters. He is right and the deal with Scalado is only part of the BB10 experience. Since, as Kevin pointed out, that is a done deal BB10 could have this kind of awesomeness in the camera, the e-mail, the media player, the NFC capability, and many more things.

Thorsten said they would offer ALL the features in a super phone, but that they did not need to do it all themselves. Makes sense. I believe the final product will be much more than just the sum of its parts.

I love my Bold but when this baby comes out, I'm getting it on day one or as soon as possible.

janeka

Well congrats to nokia who's in a deeper slump than RIM. And congrats to heins for getting a piece of this software on the qnx platform before this buyout.

jrohland

Have to assume Microsoft put forth a chunk of change to help make this deal happen. I'm not sure Nokia has the needed cash.

I to wish RIM had bought them. Anyway, I hope the license deal is carved in stone. At least it might keep the technology from Apple and Google, for a while.

berrybait

Be prepared for a MS buyout of Nokia. I totally expect a cash transfusion or some other "arrangement" from MS was made to do this deal.

Rothlander

its not hard to imagine seeing as what MS just did for Facebook

Killaserpent

Come on Kevin, you are seriously not worried? I am. This is an excellent strategic move by Nokia in this patent and tech war. That technology (camera app) is unbelievable and with Nokia owning the company and then claiming patents for it, will obviously hurt RIM in bringing this feature to BB10, done deal or not. I really hope that I am wrong but I a very concern about that move by Nokia.

iosified

Yeah. Also, could Microsoft be behind this move? At this point Nokia is all about Windows Phone (at least here in North America I have no idea worldwide). I don't think Microsoft plans to buy Nokia, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are giving them "advice".

Im Mo Green

Not an out right sale. Official releasw from Nokia:

"Nokia is not acquiring Scalado AB, which will continue to exist. All present customer agreements and obligations will remain with Scalado AB. The main task of Scalado AB will be to continue to work with its customers honoring existing delivery and support obligations and fulfilling any and all obligations in relation to its existing customers. It will not be seeking new work with existing or new customers.

What Nokia is acquiring is all of Scalado's technologies and IP, along with 50-60 talented mobile imaging specialists from Scalado; they'll remain in Lund which will become a key site for us in mobile imaging, alongside Espoo and Tampere in Finland. This will enable Nokia to expand beyond capturing just images to capturing moments and emotions that can be relived in many different ways. We look forward to welcoming the team to Nokia when the transaction closes, expected in Q3."

zensen

I wonder due to their involvement with RIM on this feature how exclusive it will be to Blackberry phones.

Obviously, some of this software could come in a different forms when NOKIA puts these guys to good use on nokia phones. Personally I don't mind as long as RIM hold a stake in this feature as Im sure it's not something RIM wants to give out to the next willing manufacturer/software maker.

but thats all conjecture on my part.

Regarding the acquisition, seems like a good fit for nokia since they pride themselves on the advancements on imaging with mobile phones in particular.

this developer in particular won't be having any say on the iOS platform anytime soon.

jrohland

It seems unlikely RIM has an exclusive license. If they did, the firm would have been of little use to Nokia.

ptpete

Rim should have bought them. The Saldo CEO was miffed that their technology was not named at BBJam. I guess he was miffed enough to sell to someone else. If you are going to SHOWCASE a technology, you better be damn sure you got it.

feinanusa88

RIM made a mistake. Don't demo that function before you bought them. Real big mistake. If someone want to buy a phone with this function, they may not buy bb 10 phone for 100%.

Blackberry_boffin

It's a great buy this.
I wasn't impressed by the way they moaned that RIM didn't mention them at the keynote preview of that camera feature. It smacked of being hungry for the limelight.

pmccartney

Update: Nokia has contacted us (engadget) to amend its original statement somewhat. While it's acquiring the imaging company's developers, technologies and IP portfolio, it's not buying the company outright. We suspect that this is more a quirk of company law -- since Scalado still has obligations with HTC and RIM, it can't leave them in the lurch. We've included the follow-up statement after the jump.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/14/nokia-to-acquire-scalado-build-a-bett...

rickx

change the "or" to "for" :) grammatical error there Kevin

DuexNoir

What Nokia/Microsoft is doing with the intellectual acquisition appears to be a strategic move to hinder other mobile companies from further advancement...i.e. they want to block what they see at the BB10 Jam preview from future advancement by this acquisition.

So what I am worried about is what camera/imaging tools will be available to RIM in the near future. BB10 is all good for this fall but what about next year or the year after that? (Hopefully RIM will learn to begin development on the next phone asap after BB10.) Certainly the next BB11 or BB12 camera development may be a problem, unless there is another imaging company on par with Scalado that is available (which may be likely).

TomCanuck

Haha. RIM shows off the keyboard, some coder puts it on their iPhone. RIM shows off a camera feature, Nokia buys it. By the time RIM actually releases a phone all their wow features will be old hat.

Searzy

They should have NEVER showed off anything.. Only reveal the finished product, ready for shipment the following week..

That's how Apple does it.

RIM has far too many "events" / showcases.

1 Annual event - BlackBerry World.

Plazmic Flame

In a perfect world, RIM would have said nothing until this fall and just release BB10 but in the real world they were not in a position to do that. They had to say something to rally developers and the media to start seeing them in a different way, in a positive light.

In regards to the article, I think RIM wanted to purchase them but given their current situation, another purchase would not be approved by the board. They need to wait patiently for BB10 to release and start raking in some cash.

Searzy

While I do agree that at BBWorld RIM needed to show something, BUT NOT your best features when the product isn't finished.

Show something lame like; "look, now you can make folders!"

Apples went Apes for that!

By showing stuff (yet alone your best stuff), you give competitors ideas.

You don't think competitors don't follow BBWorld? Or follow Crackberry?

I bet a competitor buys that Tactile company before BB10 is out the door.

sam_d

This moving foreground object removal is a well-known image processing technique, check below research paper..
“Moving Object Removal and Background Completion in a video sequence”

http://pixel.otago.ac.nz/ipapers/21.pdf

This is an academic work.. and once you haev this it is not much different to implement a Time wrap feature RIM showed.. may be there will be many more implementations and use case of this concept..

So I think there is not much to patent, implementation wise RIM will be contributing to the programming of it so will own a significant part of it..

Searzy

RIM should have bought this... They should have bought Opera browser too...

They need to buy that Tactile company too.

Make some bids

BruvvaPete

RIM should have bought this company. Now they don't have exclusivity. FAIL

SuperionMaximus

RIM never had exclusivity with this as it is licensed tech but it definitely would have been awesome had RIM bought them but I suspect RIM isn't in the position to buy any more companies right now. A groundbreaking camera tech certainly would have been great defining feature of the platform but maybe RIM will come up with something else

sir.dangerfield

This makes me uncomfortable, but I have always liked what Nokia does with phones.

AfroZepher

If RIM puts out the first commercially available phone with this tech then it's all good as far as I'm concerned. . .

freya09

I've read an article a day or two ago about Nokia letting go 10,000 employees worldwide. I guess this is their strategy, to buy technologies and improve their own phones. I think RIM should buy Scalado.

saalnaz

this move by nokia makes more sense to them than to allowing a company like RIM buy it out since Nokia is the leader in cam phone area (N8 +their recent pureview).
when it came to camera technology Nokia were not going to allow another company (their target here was probably Apple and not RIM) take over scaldado.
great move by Nokia. Nokia, IMO, still make the best quality phones its just they don know how o market them as well as they used to and they ignored the N.American market for too long.
now they seem they are becoming more focussed with their partnership with MS as they will provide their superior technologoes in imagery/mapping and MS will provide their platform which may become a good marriage ( still preferred nokia to develop its own system based on meego.
but surely the nokia/ms will be targetting to get rid of RIM first to capture the business clients while nokia offering its experience for the mass market in terms of imaging and mapping services (by the way their GPS is free for almost all countries in the world offline. you cant beat it really. driving/walking navigation with voice guiding. the 3D model offered recently by apple (last week) wasbeing developed by nokia and the company which was bought out by apple for so long. apple only came out recently in this whole GPS area and they are telling people like they have invented it!

raptorstv

without front facing camera, BB10 = fail

marko868

Whoops! Another error by RIM...

breakingpoint0

It's not surprising they announced a 10k person layoff and then an acquisition. The company I work for does something very similar. They say they can't afford anything for the people working there and laying off more people yet they are acquiring new company's and posting record profits.

It's all a crock, they use the economy as an excuse to fire people. Yet at the same time they are posting profits. It's all for the sake of making more money. Anyway, stepping off my soap box now. Sorry for that.

marko868

So the keyboard has already been copied, the timeline camera is lost, there won't be 100k apps for BB10 at launch I wonder if even 25k, why should I be interested in BB10 again somebody?

D.Vader

Is this going to be like how the MS + Skype merger didn't affect Skype getting to PlayBook?