city lens

Stretch your memory muscle way back to November, that’s when we told you about Nokia rebranding their mapping platform to HERE (sigh, do I always have to type it like that?). At the time they also announced LiveSight, an enhanced version of their augmented reality experience.

Today at Mobile World Congress, that rebranding effort is taking shape on their offerings for Windows Phone. Nokia has reintroduced some of our olds friends, we have HERE Maps, HERE Drive (with regional navigation), HERE Drive + (with global navigation), HERE Transit and HERE City Lens. Basically killer updates to the apps you’ve already been enjoying.

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Nokia continues to show its support for Windows Phone 7.x owners and has now announced a new release of City Lens for those who own a Lumia 710, 800 or 900. Version 1.5 is a public beta and will include a number of new technologies and features, including the recently unveiled LiveSight, a technology based on a highly accurate 3D map of the world.

The beauty of this beta is that owners of previous generation hardware actually have early access to the new solution, even before those with a new Lumia 820 or Lumia 920. So what's new in the 1.5 beta?

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City Lens just keeps on getting better

Nokia appears to be in an update mood lately as this weekend we’ve noticed two of their big apps get some small updates.

Update: City Lens update was just a re-submission to fix an error with the Chinese Windows Phone Store

First up is City Lens, which is being bumped to version 1.10.1632. That’s a fairly low number change, so we’re going to assume that these are minor bug fixes and code optimizations to make it all run buttery smooth. In fact it does feel faster for us to load and calibrate but that could be placebo too.

We don’t think this is the ‘big’ new update that Nokia talked about last week—that one includes 3D icons and the ability filter items out of the line of site.

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Nokia is working on a separate version of its City Lens app with plans to release it for new Windows Phone 8 devices – the Lumia 820 and 920. We previously touched on Nokia’s augmented reality (AR) app earlier this month when the company took it out of beta for current Lumia generation Windows Phones.

In an official blog post, we’re told Nokia is working hard at adding ‘more features in the Windows Phone 8 version.’ With the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile OS coupled with advances in Nokia’s in-house technologies, the company is able to continue to make the augmented reality experience on Lumia smartphones more realistic.

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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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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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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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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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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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