Thought Nokia and Intel's partnership was just some fleeting MeeGo fling? Just a carefree hookup in their times of mobile panic? Not quite. The companies are certainly in this thing for the long haul and today's announcement of their new research lab in Oulu, Finland is all the evidence you'll need. The Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Center -- as it's been dubbed -- is part of the University of Oulu and will now be home to about two-dozen researchers. What exactly will the white coats be working on? Well, the 3D mobile internet, of course, technology that Nokia's been dabling with for awhile. The focus of the initial work will be on three-dimensional virtual reality platforms as well as on mapping. Sounds pretty neat and futuristic, but for some reason all we can keep thinking about is the immediate future of getting our hands on Nokia's MeeGo-running N9. Hit the break for the full press release and a few more details on the lab itself.
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University Research Center Will Lead to New User Interfaces and Experiences

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
  • Intel Corporation, Nokia and the University of Oulu have announced the establishment of their first joint research center.
  • One of the first objectives of the new lab is to create new and compelling mobile user experiences that leverage the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile devices.
  • The lab is the latest member of Intel Labs Europe – Intel's European Research Network.
OULU, Finland, Aug. 24, 2010 – Intel Corporation, Nokia and the University of Oulu officially opened the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Center today. It will employ about two dozen R&D professionals and become the latest member of Intel's European Research Network, Intel Labs Europe.

Initially the lab will conduct research for new and compelling mobile user experiences that could leverage the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile devices. Creating interfaces that are more similar to interactions in the real world can enable experiences that are more natural and intuitive, in the same way that modern games and movies are more immersive through the use of realistic 3-D graphics.

The new lab is well aligned with the MeeGo open source platform recently launched by Intel and Nokia. MeeGo provides the greatest flexibility for developing new 3-D experiences on mobile devices as much of the lab's research activity will also be open source.

"The University of Oulu's focus on future telecommunications solutions as well as electronics and photonics made it the perfect location for the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Center," says Justin Rattner, Intel chief technology officer and director of Intel Labs.

Another potential area of research could look into technologies that allow displaying a 3-D hologram of the person you are talking to on the phone, a capability only found in science fiction movies today. Consumers will feel more involved and engaged with their mobile experience than with current methods.

"3-D technology could change the way we use our mobile devices and make our experiences with them much more immersive," said Rich Green, Senior vice president and chief technical officer, Nokia. "Our new joint laboratory with Intel draws on the Oulu research community's 3-D interface expertise, and over time will lay down some important foundations for future mobile experiences."

The lab will be located at the Center for Internet Excellence at the University of Oulu, and will work closely with the Oulu Urban Living Labs, which provide a unique environment for sensor research, testing and piloting technological and social innovations. The Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Center follows a successful industry and academia collaboration model similar to the ones of Intel Labs Barcelona and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain, the Intel Visual Computing Institute and the Saarland University in Germany or Intel Labs Berkeley at the University of California at Berkeley in the United States.