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January 8, 2018

Plug-in program expands Ricoh Theta V capabilities for new 360 tools

by John_A

Ricoh’s flagship 360 camera could soon see expanded features beyond what even Ricoh can imagine — on Monday, January 8, Ricoh announced the Ricoh Theta V Partner Program, which opens up the camera to third-party add-ons for expanded features. The company shared the expansion during the Consumer Electronics Show.

The new program allows other companies to develop their own add-ons for the 360 camera by allowing access to the application program interface and software development kit. A new Ricoh Theta V marketplace will allow users to download those expansions. The company is also opening up tools and support for developers.

The kind of extra features the camera gains will depend on those developers. One example of expanding the camera’s capabilities is the plug-in developed by Ricoh and pre-installed that allows a smart device to control that 360 view when viewing footage on a standard TV screen.

“By opening the platform for application development, we are enabling the Ricoh Theta V to be a constantly evolving product. For this reason, we are very excited about the new partner program,” Wataru Ohtani, corporate associate vice president and general manager of Ricoh’s Smart Vision Business Group, said in a press release. “The Ricoh Theta V Plug-in Partner Program will enable third-party companies and developers to create custom features and services. Our goal is for consumers and businesses alike to benefit from Ricoh Theta V and to become a standard platform for the 360-degree imagery.”

Ricoh was one of the first companies to launch a consumer 360 camera in 2013, but the Theta V brings 4K and surround-sound compatibility to the line as well as low-energy Bluetooth. Using a similar design that’s shaped more like a TV remote than a camera, the V added advanced features to the line and enhanced the image quality over the company’s less expensive options such as the Theta SC. The Theta V is the first 360 camera that uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a feature that Ricoh said at the launch would open up possibilities for third-party apps along with options directly from Ricoh. With today’s launch, that capability is now available for developers.

The Ricoh Theta V retails for $430.

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