ST Microelectronics releases Nokia's gyroscopic stabilisation tech to the open market

It's no secret that Nokia Windows Phones sport the most advanced camera tech in the industry. Competition is close – we compared the Lumia 1520 against the iPhone 5 in benchmark tests – but the Finnish company still reigns supreme. A part of what makes certain Lumia Windows Phones so good when it comes to snapping those special moments comes down to gyroscopic stabilisation. Previously exclusive to Nokia, this technology for smartphones is now available on the open market.

The tech has been available in digital cameras for some time, but to package it all into smartphones is something else. What gyroscopic stabilisation does is enables the camera shutter to remain open for longer periods of time without ruining the end result. The longer the shutter is open, the more light can be let in. It's something we take for granted in standalone camera setups, but for smartphones – where space is limited – it's quite the feat to include the tech.

Now that the technology is available to other OEMs within the smartphone industry, you can expect to see more hardware with such functionality. 

Source: The Register; thanks, Laura, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Good for other OEMs. Bad for Nokia.
  • Don't think so. As per the article, the tech allows longer shutter speeds, not the actual OIS assembly that Nokia incorporated into their L920 onwards. If the latter is available to the public, then yes, I agree that Nokia/Microsoft is screwed (HTC and LG did try it in their latest phones but with mediocre results).
  • This is just one part if what makes Nokia cameras the best smartphone cameras. Even with this copy artists like HTC and samsung have a long way to go to match cameras like the 1020.
  • Nokia have always been a step ahead with its smartphone camera technology -- it was the reason I bought a N95 back in the day, and the Lumia 920 when it came out. They'll have something else to set them apart soon enough.
  • make it two steps ahead.
  • LMFAO........ This is exactly why I was saying the other day that the next version of the 1020 must be much better than the current, and Microkia must continue to push strong with innovation.. A few minor upgrades, or a small evolution isn't going to work in a market so competitive that the competition can surpass you with their next release...
    Now, I not saying that we should be worried at all, and that this is a huge threat to Microkia's camera crown, but they need to keep coming with smartphone innovation that makes headlines, and differentiates Lumia devices from the competition,,,, like the 1020 has..
  • Microsoft or Nokia should have bought this company.  :)
  • I know right.. Do they not see how Google is buying every tech company that they can❔.....
    Actually, that might hurt Google in the long run... They're gonna have way too much overhead..
  • They should have, but they have the Pelican Imaging at least so the pentile Lytro like camera tech is theirs exclusively and will hopefully be their next frontier. Rumours 9 months ago suggested there'd be a camera with it this year, but more recently they've said it might not be coming til 2015. Let's hope sooner rather than later, would be a great feature and a killer feature against the competition if they soon start implementing hardware IOS.
  • Wait for Apple to invent it /s
  • Still waiting for Apple to invent the xenon flash and waterproofing so they become flagship standards, as they should be by now!
  • Good point
  • Didn't you hear, iOS 7 makes your iPhone waterproof!
  • Absolutely! Drop it in the toilet and see how well it works :D
  • I came to make the same exact comment.
  • Hahaha
  • Why? What changed?
  • Exclusive rights are over in the contract? So maybe now everyone can use the HAAC mics too now
  • I was afraid that might happen soon. After all, the mics are produced by ST Microelectronics. Of course, this is good for the advancement of technology, and hopefully, all Windows Phones will be able to cope with the competition and lead ahead :D
  • Well WP8...we had a good run! With Nokia's hardware division being sold to Microsoft and their super slow update and refinements, I fear all is lost. (wink wink)
  • The winking just saved you
  • Oh ,this is bad :'(
  • it looks lole whats available is a 2 axis sabilizing element according to the source? i believe Nokia uses a 3 axis type?
  • Surprised Nokia or MS didn't pick this company up.
  • What? Pick up STM?? STM alone could have picked up Nokia.
  • Nokia market cap 19B EUR, cash and short term investments 9.25B EUR STM market cap 5.2B EUR, cash and short term investments 1.4B EUR
  • Nokia/Microsoft didn't take full advantage of this tech by advertising the crap put of it for people to be aware of. Now everyone will think apple or Samsung invented it. One more reason not to switch to Lumia. They really dropped the ball with the 1020, this was the phone the world should of been exposed to
  • Umm the 1020 was and still is absolutely everywhere on tv.. Its in like every other music video and most tv dramas and cop shows its in movies along with the 920. I agree there's not much phone specific commercials but it seems to be quite popular with tv shows and celebrities
  • But the adverts are pretty crap when compared to the Sony Xperia for example.
  • If his decision to buy or not buy a phone is done based in the amount of commercials it has then... I think he is lost.
  • The platform needs better ads, and the Pureview system needs to be affordable on low and mid range phones. Then it will take off.
  • So you don't want to get a Lumia because of the amount of advertising they get?
  • This is bad for Nokia/WP. I guess this should have been done after the Merger
  • There's no merger. Nokia remains independent and their tech will stop being exclusive to their phones 'cause they won't have them anymore. Get used to the idea that in the near future you can see a Sony or a Samsung with PureView for example.
  • Wasn't MS getting the pureview trademark with the acquisition?
  • Not the best of news but I still think Nokia would have a few tricks up its sleeve especially in relation to the actual sensor and the image processing algorithms (cough...920..yellow..dull...cough) :P
  • What about the Goldfinger, any news?
  • Yes
  • Honestly, this tech isn't what made most people select Windows Phone. I don't think it'll have much affect on anything.
  • Nokia+MS probably have something else up their sleeve already.. :)
  • I meant the exclusive licensing for the gyro tech, rather than ST Micro itself ;)
  • This is not the OIS  but the gyroscope stabilization part of it . the ball bearing and spring stabilization of the lumia phomnes is still nokia only.
  • Not surprised. This is the future Nokia and Microsoft chose for themselves.
    Now what I want to see is who will be the first OEM to license Nokias PureView tech.
  • Huawei of course! ;)
  • I said *license*. Chinese OEM's will probably just copy it :P Jokes aside, lets see. I think Samsung has a good patent relationship with Nokia. Too good. So I wouldn't be surprised if they were the first ones.
    I personally would never use a Huawei phone, even if it was offered to me. But that's just me.
  • If other OEMs got to license this ahead of Sony, would you ditch Sony in favor of them?
  • Looks like Nokia has got even better technology...
  • 1. There is no shutter in smartphones. 2. No matter of OIS or not you ruin the end result with long exposure times because even the slightest movement of an object will result in a blurry object, which is very evident in night time pictures with the 920 and 925.
  • Your #2 suggests that OIS makes little important difference in handheld smartphone photos. That's untrue. I have a 920 and my wife had an iPhone 5. I've tested them side by side, and handheld nighttime photos are noticeably clearer on the 920; as a pro photographer I pixel-peep at the resulting images; the stabilization is much better on the 920. And with video the difference is even more apparent. The 920 video is noticeably smoother in movement, and thus appears more realistic. OIS really does work. It's not hard to believe for me because I've experienced similar results with my VR Nikon lenses; it's almost like magic.
  • Then you misinterpret me. The OIS works great, compensating for hand movement during the enormous exposure times present in 920 and 925. And by using massive exposure times you can turn down the ISO thus producing a clearer picture with less noise. The problem however is that configuring the camera to use a "shutter time" as long as 1/4 (or sometimes even 1/3) there is just no way to photograph moving objects, for example people, without getting blur unless they are absolutely still. You also get unrealistically bright photos, with more light than there actually is in reality. To me thats a trade-off not worth it.
  • True, moving objects won't be "fixed" by OIS. But that's not what it's for.  If you're getting over-exposed images, than you're leaving the shutter open too long, or your ISO is set too high. In other words, you're doing it wrong. This is basic photography principles, I have the L925, My wife got the 5s. The pictures taken in darker rooms are clearer with the OIS on the 925. The 5s dual tone flash helps keep colors more "real", but the 925 isn't very far off. Just proping the phone on the edge of the crib, I was able to take a clear picture @4sec with no flash and just the minimal light from the night light.    
  • Yes Nokia is leaving the shutter open too long and Yes that is wrong.
  • I love the photos that the Lumia 920 takes, but, as you mention, if I am taking a shot of anything except a statue, I get a blur. And I do even rest my phone on objects that act like a tripod. Trouble is, someone in the shot will move a fraction, which often ruins the photo.
  • Uh, what? The 1020 has a mechanical shutter.
  • Yup you didn't look?
  •   Damn. And all this time I thought that all of the camera-related technology in the Lumias was created and owned by Nokia. Oh well. Here's to further innovation by Microkia.
  • . I missed.that you were only talking about purposeful long exposure scenarios. You're right about that.
  • Well given they vastly improved the OIS in the 1520 over the 1020, then who knows what Nokia/Microsoft has up their sleeve. I still remember that video where you can move the 1520 around and the video stays relatively still!!
  • Also they should work on something to dial down the aperture.Cause its always has a constant value (2) the reason behind having too much noise in a photo.Yes i know we can always have a low ISO setting.But having a independent dial for aperture like other settings in nokia camera would be great.
  • Nokia have filed patents a couple years ago for adjustable apertures in smartphones. I believe with the way their camera tech is being upgraded one piece at a time year after year that adjustable aperture is the next step in improving in their camera technology. I hope this is how it plays out. Shutter speeds of up to 30-60s would be nice with adjustable aperture control, light painting would be so much better than what I can achieve on the 1020 now. Built in nd filters like on the 808 would be a welcome addition also.
  • Watch Microsoft buy there company next lol
  • But still, Nokia is the king.