Ina Fried

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Interview: Nokia’s Head of Imaging on Extending Zeiss Deal, Preparing to Ship 41-Megapixel Cameraphone

Nokia said Wednesday that it plans to start shipping its 808 PureView — the 41-megapixel cameraphone introduced earlier this year — by the end of May.

India and Russia will be among the first markets to get the PureView, Nokia said. The company also said it was extending its exclusive camera deal with Germany’s Carl Zeiss, its longtime imaging partner, whose lenses power the PureView and the N8.

“We are getting much more than just the optics components from Carl Zeiss,” said Nokia head of imaging Juha Alakarhu, in a telephone interview. “This is really a true partnership with Carl Zeiss. They have a big role throughout the development of our cameras.”

Nokia is counting on imaging to remain as one of its selling points as it shifts its weight from its homegrown Symbian operating system to building phones based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone software. Nokia reiterated that it plans to adapt the PureView technology to future Windows Phones.

The company still isn’t going into any details on that front, nor is it saying when the first Windows Phones with the technology will ship. Nokia plans to sell the Symbian-based PureView in markets beyond Russia and India, but has said it does not plan to bring it to the U.S.

“We will bring PureView to future smartphones — all the parts in the product, from great optics [to the] processing, the whole experience,” Alakarhu said.

During a visit to Finland in February, AllThingsD was among the first outsiders to see the PureView, ahead of the formal launch of the device at that month’s Mobile World Congress.

Since then, Alakarhu said he has been traveling a lot with the phone, taking it on various work trips, including a recent visit to Indonesia, and this week’s May 1 celebrations in Finland. Alakarhu said he gets lots of amazed reactions, adding that he is probably most pleased that his usually critical photography enthusiast friends are impressed.

“I was able to show the photos, and I was happy to see their happy faces,” he said.

Nokia has also promised it has more photo tricks up its sleeve, though Alakarhu wouldn’t spill the beans.

“I probably shouldn’t say anything about our future surprises,” he said. “We are working hard on imaging technology.”

Nokia spent five years developing the camera technology behind the PureView.

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