Augmented reality company QderoPateo just released WorldLenns, a new iPhone 3GS app that supposedly blurs the line between social networking and virtual reality by letting you tag items in the real world. While this application offers many possible uses all by itself, it's just the first step in the company's larger vision...which includes its own phone on steroids as an augmented reality platform. Not bad for a company founded by two young entrepreneurs from opposite sides of the world.
First, let's take a look at WorldLenns. Already available at the iTunes store, the application lets you take a picture, upload it, and leave a virtual note for other users. So far that doesn't sound any different from Picasa. The trick is that you use your phone's mapping feature to pinpoint where you are...and other users who enter the same geographic information can now see what you left, if they have the application on their own devices. QderoPateo calls it Space Tagging, and it's at the root of what they hope to accomplish.
QderoPateo plans to build on this humble beginning for its application. Just as Youtube developed categories and channels as more videos were added, company co-founder Matt Gaines said they “expect to add a number of specialized channels for performing artists, entertainers, sports leagues and teams to WorldLenns in the coming months.”
Indeed, it's already started. QderoPateo co-founder Steve Chao noted that they worked with singer Taylor Swift to create a dedicated “channel” for the singer to enable her to communicate with fans and increase interactivity at concert locations during her current tour. Still, this is only the first step for U.S.-born Gaines and China-born Chao when it comes to augmented reality.
QderoPateo plans to release its own smartphone, the Ouidoo Gaian. The company already showed a model at the Shanghai World Expo in April. Engaget said the device would supposedly have a 26-core CPU capable of 8-gigaflop floating point operation – the equivalent of four iPads combined, according to QderoPateo. The rest of the specs sound a little bit more pedestrian: 512 MB RAM, 4 GB ROM, 28 GB of built-in storage, microSD expansion, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, built-in 3D map, accelerometer, digital compass, 5-megapixel camera with flash, 220 hours of standby battery life, and a 3.5 inch screen.
Sadly, I've had to rely on Engaget for the details here, because I couldn't find any information on specs on QderoPateo's web site – let alone pricing. But the company itself claims that it will launch Ouidoo Gaian in China in the first quarter of this year (which is rapidly reaching its close), followed by the United States in the third quarter. The Ouidoo is designed from the beginning to handle 3D images, and to serve “as a handheld PC, AN device, and mobile control center for multiple electronics devices – including those in your car,” says Chao. “And yes, you can still make a phone call with it.”
“AN” stands for “articulated naturality,” QderoPateo's version of augmented reality. QderoPateo's ideas for how this would work even include gaming integration, so users could play games in an urban environment with 3D game-based avatars. (One has to wonder how safe this would be). But at the simplest level, Gaines says “It's a matter of integrating useful and relevant content into an easy-to-use system that provides an intuitive way to experience an augmented environment where real-world and virtual elements co-exist.” An example? “Imagine sitting at a baseball game, aiming your mobile device camera at the pitcher and instantly having all of his stats delivered spontaneously into your field of view.” But will QderoPateo really be able to bring this to fruition later this year? We'll just have to wait and see.
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