augmented reality

Yesterday we saw a whole heap of information presented by Nokia covering hardware and services, with so much to get through some things were only touched upon. One such area was of Nokia’s plans for maps and directions. We’d previously covered Nokia’s goal to maintain leadership in location so this segment was of great interest.

During the keynote a much clearer insight into their plans for their location based apps coming in Windows Phone 8 was provided, and we think there will be some exciting advances heading to the platform. Indoor Maps, tighter integration of their current mapping apps and augmented reality improvements are all on the way.

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Nokia City Lens - from beta to official

It was just over two weeks ago that Nokia’s City Lens app, which allows users to find “things to do” using their compass, camera phone and accelerometer, received an update and now the official release is out. The augmented reality app has proven to be quite popular with users, so it's nice to see it finally go official.

Billed as version 1.1, the app is neither listed in the Nokia Collection nor available by search—but we managed to get the link for you folks to use now (as soon as the app propagates to your Marketplace servers).

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Although augmented-reality sounds a bit gimmicky to our ears, bringing back memories of the 1990’s and 'virtual reality', there’s little doubt that some of you of use these tools. And they are kind of cool.

Nokia City Lens (beta) is just such an app as it uses your Lumia’s camera, compass and accelerometer to display what’s around you or perhaps more accurately, to highlight areas based on categories. It’s a useful tool especially if you’re in a urban environment, walking around, looking for an establishment or wanting to discover something new.

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The Weather Channel app re-imagined by Nokia

In what has to be a surprise continuation of Nokia’s commitment to their Lumia line of Windows Phones, they have gone ahead and re-imagined the Weather Channel App (which is simply called ‘Weather’) by bringing new features and a re-design that greatly enhances the experience.

The app is at version 2.0 and only found in the Nokia Collection meaning regular Windows Phone users won’t be able to use the supplied link below. This may also be a US-limited feature...we're trying to confirm now. [Edit: UK is confirmed]

So what’s new in Weather 2.0 from Nokia?...

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Nokia City Lens (Beta): A Closer Look

Earlier today Nokia Beta Labs released the beta version of City Lens, a local search engine with augmented reality. We took the beta app out for a brief test drive and it's an impressive little app.  City Lens has some really nice features, a simple interface, but we could tell it was still in the beta stages with the augmented reality portion a little shaky on tagging businesses.  

Head on past the break to read our first impressions on City Lens.

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With all the hype Nokia devices get especially with their onslaught of custom software, we figured we'd throw a bone to the rest of you who aren't on the Lumia train.

In case you missed it, Nokia launched the beta of City Lens today. A nifty little app that uses the camera, gyroscope, compass, GPS and internet to show you in real-time where shops, coffee houses and restaurants can be found. It's certainly well done but not particularly original (see LG's ScanSearch app from 2011).

But in case you own an HTC or Samsung phone and want to have the same functionality there's a great free option already out there: Wikitude.

Actually, Wikitude does even more than City Lens since it's more robust with search features. It's been around for awhile and is found on competing platforms making it more widely supported. It hooks into Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, Starbucks and more. Heck, their system even has APIs so dev's can integrate Wikitude's services into their own apps.

Did we mention it's also a lot fun? Sure, seeing people literally tweeting around you is borderline creepy but it's also a bit fascinating.

The app is free too meaning there's little reason for you not to give it a try, even if you use Nokia's City Lens. We found the service to be quite accurate and useful when traveling around the city.

Pick up Wikitude here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Let us know in comments how you think it compares to City Lens (if you have both).

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Nokia's Beta Labs has just made public City Lens, an augmented reality experience for users to find local points of interest. Much like Local Scout, but more realistic, City Lens provides a more user friendly overview of what establishments are located in the vicinity. Instead of guessing which building is which (should signage not be effective enough), Nokia Lens slaps a label on each to help you out.

Landmarks, restaurants, hotels, shops and more are listed in camera, list or maps view. This adds more options for the user, which will be handy should you not wish to wave your handset around at that exact moment and look like a tourist recording a video. Your location is loaded, much like any other app with similar functionality, and this can then be shared with social networks. Favourites can also be saved for more convenient access - pretty neat. 

Nokia Beta Labs is interested in receiving feedback on this experience, so be sure to download Nokia City Lens from your Lumia Windows Phone. City Lens isn't listed in the Nokia Collection so you'll need to open the link from your Lumia Windows Phone or scan the QR Code below.

You guys know how much we love augmented reality here at WPCentral, so we strongly recommend checking this out.

Source: Nokia Beta Labs; via: Engadget; thanks everyone who tipped us!

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A few weeks ago we broke the news that Executive Caddie, the premier and highly rated golfing assistance app for Windows Phone, was getting a makeover and an upgrade for the Nokia Collection. That means that if you own a Lumia 610, 700, 800 or the big 900 you're entitled to a custom version of the app made for your phone for free.

At the time we reported on those "exclusive" features for Executive Caddie +:

  • Tournament scoring
  • Real-time leaderboards
  • Group heckling with toast notifications
  • Additional social features
  • Themes to match the Lumias, including Cyan, Magenta, White and Nokia Blue

But the biggy was an augmented reality tool called Golfscope described as

"...an augmented reality view of players on the golf course with live player and scorecard information. Basically, a player can point his phone at any other player on the course and the player’s avatar and round summary will appear in the overlay. The overlay can be tapped to see the other player’s scores, stats, and other round information in real-time. GolfScope is a patent pending technology."

We promised we'd show you what that actually looks like and as you can see in the video above, GolfScope is ready to go. We should note that what you see in that video is not a simulation, that's an actual live demonstration of GolfScope from a Nokia Lumia 900 that has vide-out capabilities (yeah, devs get some great tools).

We're expecting the exclusive Nokia version of Executive Caddie + to land in the Nokia Collection in a few weeks. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you golf and don't have a Lumia you can still get the regular Executive Caddie for free in the Marketplace.

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Last week we reported on the possibility of the popular and highly rated golfing app Executive Caddie coming to the Nokia Collection in the Marketplace. Today, WPCentral can confirm that this is indeed correct and we'll see a new edition, called Executive Caddie +, headed to Lumia devices in the first two-weeks of May. What's more, we have all the details below including exclusive screenshots.

Boasting the "largest and most accurate Golf Course Database in the World", the app is very well done and has even won a Windows Phone app challenge. Evidently it's so good, Nokia decided to add them to their growing list of exclusive and unique apps for Lumia phones, including the popular Lumia 900.

Executive Caddie + builds off of the current app in the Marketplace (available for free) but adds some new and unique features, including:

  • Tournament scoring
  • Real-time leaderboards
  • Group heckling with toast notifications
  • Additional social features
  • Themes to match the Lumias, including Cyan, Magenta, White and Nokia Blue

But perhaps the coolest feature is this one: GolfScope. GolfScope is described as

"...an augmented reality view of players on the golf course with live player and scorecard information. Basically, a player can point his phone at any other player on the course and the player’s avatar and round summary will appear in the overlay. The overlay can be tapped to see the other player’s scores, stats, and other round information in real-time. GolfScope is a patent pending technology."

We're not even golfers here and even we're impressed with that feature. We'll have a first look at those augmented-reality shots come Monday, so tune back here at WPCentral if you want to check them out.

One thing we're constantly impressed with at Nokia is their ability to sniff out talent and bring that to their customers. Executive Caddie + looks to be another great find for them and should help sell the phone for those business and golf-fiends out there. Seems like a great match to us.

Fear not if you don't have a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone though, you can still download the regular Executive Caddie for free here in the Marketplace.

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We mentioned the other day that Australia was getting the Nokia "Amazing everyday" treatment with the impending launch of the Lumia 800. We then had a fan-made video of the event showing a dance-off using an Xbox Kinect and a giant screen and now Nokia has put up a proper video of the event, showing off exactly what they were doing on that sunny day.

With an augmented Angry Birds experience, dance off with Timomatic and something about helping a kangaroo finding its way home, Nokia sure did some creative marketing here. Looked fun at least and really, that's what it's all about for them.

Thanks, Johnny V., for the heads up

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A video capture of the augmented reality event in Sydney has been uploaded to YouTube showing the stunt in action with a member of the public having a go. The dance-off was with Australia’s Got Talent and now local recording star Timomatic, who was also present at the event for signing and promoting the event.

As well as this event, there are two more lined up this month in Brisbane and Melbourne so be sure to head on down.

Source: YouTube

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With the launch of the 800, we've been anticipating Nokia's upcoming marketing strategy in Australia with what the manufacturer can do to maintain the standards of promotion we've witnessed in other countries (think back to London with Deadmau5). With the recent announcement that will see Nokia holding Lumia "Live events" in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney this month, we now have more details surrounding the first one on the calendar - Sydney.

As one can probably guess from the above photo, the live event in Sydney sports Nokia's largest augmented reality experience. The public can step up on the Nokia mat to witness an interactive experience powered by an Xbox and Kinect. The video from the console is displayed on a massive 12 metre screen for everyone to enjoy.

Should you choose the Nokia Music tile, you'll be able to compete with Australia’s Got Talent and now local recording star Timomatic in a dance-off. But if that's not your cup of tea, and you're feeling slightly adventurous, then the Nokia Drive tile will produce a random character next to you on-screen; be it an Angry Bird or kangaroo.

Timomatic said the following when asked about his experience working with Nokia on this stunt:

"I was pumped about working with Nokia on this project.  I loved the idea of combining cutting-edge technology like Augmented Reality with my passion for music and dance. The footage was filmed in a studio and we experimented with a range of dance moves, both free-style and choreographed.  It's pretty amazing to see it all come together like that on the big screen."

Are you interested in giving this event a looking? Be sure to head on down to Martin Place between 7am - 7pm (16th March). 

Source: WPDownUnder

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It was only late last year that we covered the news of Chaos Created, a UK based studio, asking for volunteers in and around London to dress up as zombies and act out in footage for their upcoming Windows Phone title, Zombies Ate My City. The game has now been released onto the Marketplace and is available for... wait for it... absolutely nothing ($0 / £0).

So what is Zombies Ate My City all about? It's a 'transmedia' title that is part movie, part game, part augmented reality and part location discovery. A real mixup, which is unique to Windows Phone and is also a platform exclusive. You're tasked with heading to different locations using Bing Maps, much like Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst, and defend the area from zombies. Achievements are unlock-able as well as more powerful weaponry.

Windows Phone UK caught up with Ali Maggs, co-creator and programmer of the game:

"It was important to us to take advantage of Windows Phone’s software, weaving the game’s storyline around the capabilities of the platform.  Windows Phone is perfect for us because all the phones out there have the same capabilities.

One of the things we will be doing in the Summer is building out a web based app, built on Bing maps, that will allow users to unlock new locations, such as landmarks, for Windows Phone players to then discover and defend.  We want to make the experience as transmedia as possible, where we tell different parts of the story on different platforms in different ways."

You can download Zombies Ate My City from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing at all. While the game itself is free, should you wish to support further development then be sure to check out the ZAMC Theme Pack app that contains a handful of ringtones and wallpapers for £0.79 ($0.99).

Via: Windows Phone UK

          

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Though Nokia likes to deny that there's a Lumia 910, the rumored Euro version of the AT&T Lumia 900 with a 12MP camera, they evidently do have something to show off in a few weeks in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress.

Nokia will have a press conference on Monday, February 27 8:30-9:30am to announce a new device and as Forbes reports, it looks to have something unique to offer:

"While the partner did not specify whether the upcoming device was a Windows Phone handset, it did say it was a phone that would run an unusual software feature normally found only on high-end smartphones."

Well, that sounds interesting. Augmented Reality, possibly i.e. City Lens? That's certainly a contender, we think. NFC also comes to mind but that's more than software and is not expected until Apollo.

Either way, we'll be there that morning to cover it as usual. So mark the date and time down as we'll have the scoop. (And perhaps we'll also see that white Lumia 900 too.)

Source: Forbes; Thanks for everyone who sent this in

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Team Lifelens, United States. Team members (not in order): Tristan Gibeau, Cy Khormaee, Wilson To, Jason Wakizaka and Helena Xu.

We've mentioned Team LifeLens before way back in April 2011. The student group won the Microsoft Imagine Cup back in July for Windows Phone with their app for detecting Malaria. The app itself is part of a package that includes the software, hardware lens and computer vision analysis tools and can literally be used for live-Malaria testing on individuals. The data can then be sent "to the cloud" for data banking and further statistical analysis--great for tracking epidemics and the like.

Now, Microsoft is going further with the Imagine Cup project by committing $3 million dollars to the newly created "...three-year...competitive grant program for student technology and social entrepreneurs". Each of the winning teams were given $75 thousand dollars to help get their project to market in addition to

" ...software, cloud computing services, solution provider support, premium Microsoft BizSpark account benefits and access to local resources such as the Microsoft Innovation Centers. Microsoft will also connect grant recipients with its network of investors, nongovernmental organization partners and business partners.

You can watch the video to get an idea of how the app works. It does truly seem useful and it's great to see students (and Microsoft) working towards such a worthy cause using Windows Phones. Check out the other team winners announced yesterday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland with Bill Gates at the Imagine Cup site.

A big congratulations to Team LifeLens and all the Imagine Cup Grant winners!

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We're always a fan of augmented reality apps even if we don't have a specific use for them. Augmented Colors by SimzzDev fits in that category as we're not designers or artists by any stretch. Still, that didn't prevent us from recognizing just how cool this is.

In short, the app uses your Windows Phone camera to dynamically label colors in the world by using their RGB values and HTML color codes (e.g. #FF0000 for red). When you find a color you like, you simply tap the on-screen color bar to "lock it" in. The app then hops to the share screen where you can post that color code to Twitter/Facebook/Live, email/SMS or pin-to-start for saving for later. You can even create solid wallpapers for your Lock screen based off the color for some added function.

We could see painters and graphic designers making great use of this app or even if you're just repainting a room and you're looking for that exact color for the paint store. The app works exceptionably well for what it is meant to do and for $0.99, we think it's a bargain. There's also a free-trial where you can test out the AR part (you just can't share results), so no reason to not give it a spin.

Pick up Augmented Colors here in the Marketplace.

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We've heard Nokia talk about augmented reality being a big differentiator for them in terms of Windows Phone and technology and now we're getting our first glimpse of that endevour.

City Lens seems a lot like LGs Metro Scanner and ScanSearch whereby you hold it up and it shows you things around you. In fact, City Lens even does the "hold it flat to show a map" trick that LG uses too. Still, we bet with Nokia's mapping history and deeper interest in Windows Phone, City Lens will be a much more rewarding experience.

No word on release as it is still in beta, but hopefully we'll see it with the 900's release.

Source: The Nokia Blog

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Microsoft Research releases Face Mask

Just a couple days after releasing Face Swap, Microsoft Research is at it again with Face Mask.  Where Face Swap used facial recognition to let you move mugs between bodies, this new app adds humorous features people's faces.  Choose between 20 different masks, rotate or resize them, then make your friends look ridiculous.  Face Mask can identify multiple faces in a snapshot and can randomize masks between them simply by shaking your phone.  Pictures can be saved to the People Hub, as well as shared via Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo.

Like its sister app, Face Swap, Face Mask is free.  You can get it here.  Also, if you enjoy this app, check out Funny Faces too. Thanks for the tip, Shadi!

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If you haven't tried Funny Faces yet, the augmented reality app from Schulte Software Development, then you really should. The app allows you to use the camera to take pictures of people and then add hats, mustaches, pacifiers, etc. to them in real time. And since the app has a custom facial-recognition algorithm, you can effortlessly make someone look ridiculously silly just by pointing your camera at them.

Now in version 1.4, you can go back and add over-lays to existing photos in addition to the new Santa Clause hat and beard-- seasons greeting! Just ask legendary metal singer Glen Danzig! He loves his fluffy new beard and hat.

Anyways, we love this app as it's pretty hilarious and perfect for those holiday parties. You can even share to Facebook or Twitter for rapid humiliation. The app fetches for $0.99 and has a free trial, give it a go here in the Marketplace.

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We do love ourselves some AR (augmented reality) apps around here, so devs, just add AR to your app to get featured here. Just kidding, but it doesn't hurt.

Case in point is this nifty little app called Heads Up Compass. It uses the camera's live feed and overlays the compass headings in cardinal points and direction on top, allowing you to scan the horizon for Tusken Raiders. Or maybe Bear Grylis.

We actually have no practical use of this outside of looking bad ass in New York City when we get out of the subway. That didn't stop us from buying it for $0.99 though. Of course you could use it for free (with ads) if you don't want to spend the buck.

Grab Heads Up Compass here in the Marketplace. And good luck finding R2.

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