Microsoft's head for Windows phone imaging leaves for Nokia to work on VR

Microsoft is certainly in a long and weary transition state with Windows 10 Mobile, and now one of their chief imaging gurus is going back to Nokia.

Juha Alakarhu, who has been featured many times on Windows Central, was responsible for image oversampling, image stabilization techniques on the Lumia 920, iris scanning on the Lumia 950, and was in charge of the proprietary algorithms behind the PureView camera experience on Lumia cameras.

Alakarhu had been at Nokia since 2004 and became head of Imaging Technologies at the company in 2011. Likely his best work with the Lumias culminated in the super impressive Lumia 1020 with its 41MP camera, improved optical image stabilization, and image oversampling, all of which were firsts at a retail level for a smartphone.

Alakarhu transitioned to Microsoft during the Nokia Mobile acquisition phase and even moved to Redmond in 2015 to work on the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. His last duties at Microsoft was under the title Director, Lead Program Manager, Phones Imaging:

Program managing the Phones imaging end-to-end solution, including software and hardware. Responsibilities include driving the complete imaging solution as well as detailed hardware technology, image quality, and algorithm decisions.

Alakarhu announced on Twitter this morning that today was his first day at Nokia. However, he won't be working on mobile, but instead is Head of Imaging on the Ozo team. The Nokia Ozo is a "professional virtual reality camera" and costs around $60,000. No doubt there is a lot of exciting and crazy technology in that device and Alakarhu is sure to continue its commercial development.

There is also no doubt that Alakarhu's departure from Microsoft is a big blow to the prospects of Microsoft imaging. It remains to be seen if the Surface will release a phone of their own in 2017 and what camera technologies it will have on board.

The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are both now receiving new firmware, which includes improved image and video quality and improved Auto-focus performance.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.