The Nokia Lumia 1020 was once considered the pinnacle of smartphone photography for an extended period, thanks to its formidable 42 MP camera, which made its debut alongside the Nokia 808 PureView. This was also the final Nokia device to feature a massive 41 MP camera that ever reached the market.
However, Nokia was concurrently developing another device equipped with a 41 MP camera sensor, which never saw the light of day. The year was 2013, and the sale of Nokia’s Devices and Services Department to Microsoft was announced in September. In the midst of these changes, Nokia’s HERE division embarked on the development of the Rebel, the world’s first truly connected camera.
A key member of the device design team was Tom Arbisi, who provided a detailed description of the product on his personal page.
This camera was intended to incorporate LTE, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC capabilities. Furthermore, the development team integrated a renowned 41 MP camera and ensured its chassis was waterproof, earning it an IP68 rating. It had the potential to be an exceptionally capable and durable product.
The device was designed to capture exceptional images and videos, and its connectivity solutions would have allowed for immediate uploads to servers and seamless sharing on social networks. However, this was 2013, and handheld cameras were losing popularity.
The product had even reached an advanced stage of development and was on the verge of mass production. Unfortunately, due to changes in management focus within the HERE division, which shifted away from manufactured products, the device never made it to the marketplace.
The design team had even created accessories for the device that remain aesthetically appealing to this day, even 11 years later.
I’ve always been curious about what else Nokia was developing. After a thorough review of Tom’s page, I stumbled upon the Nokia Halti, a robust, high-quality device priced under $200. Its primary purpose was to provide internet access to people in emerging markets.
This device had reached an advanced stage of development, with hundreds of functional prototypes produced on assembly lines. However, it was discontinued in 2012. Surprisingly, it was so durable that you could drop it or even stand on it without damaging the internal components.
The only weak point of the device was its operating system. Nokia’s management chose to use a proprietary Nokia OS to keep prices low. While the OS was developed within Nokia’s Mobile Phones division, it lacked a fully developed ecosystem, making it unsuitable for the market, ultimately leading to the cancellation of the entire product.
Tom also shared details about the Nokia Titan, a concept tablet initially developed for Windows 8, later becoming the Nokia Lumia 2520. The original goal was to create a full-fledged PC in tablet form, while maintaining smooth edges for a comfortable grip.
The team aimed for the device to support two USB cables, HDMI, and power cables, with slots for SD and SIM cards. The body was designed with a stainless steel shell and a ground glass display with smoothly blended edges.
Additionally, Tom contributed to the design of the Nokia 2650, one of the most stylish clamshell phones in 2003. This device earned Nokia a Red Dot Design Award and an IDSA Silver Award in 2004. It also secured several design and utility patents and was sold worldwide.
The Nokia 2650 was one of the first folding Nokia phones, resulting from a side project of Tom’s aimed at inventing a unique folding mechanism exclusive to Nokia. The mechanism involved a concealed ‘living’ hinge, an over-center spring, and a flexible inner face.