AllThingsD had a chance to sit down with Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore to discuss the new Windows Phone 7 “Mango” update, which the Redmond-based firm is discussing during the MIX 11 conference in Las Vegas today. Belfiore confirmed that Mango will offer a new browsing experience using Internet Explorer 9, and noted that it will have integrated Twitter features. Similarly, Mango will allow users to run multiple programs at the same time – complete with background audio support. That means you could theoretically stream music from Slacker Radio while firing off an email. Microsoft will also allow developers to tap into a phone’s gyroscope and camera, which it hopes will help spur more augmented reality applications. Speaking of apps, Belfiore confirmed that Layar, Skype, Spotify, and Angry Birds, are on their way to the Windows Marketplace. Belfiore confirmed that Mango will launch this fall. More →
Layar, the company behind the popular augmented reality app for the iPhone and Android smartphones, announced on Monday that Layar 5.0 is available. The latest iteration allows users to share screen shots — of anything they view through the application — through Facebook or Twitter. Layar 5.0 also provides new animation capabilities, which means some layer content can come to life in 3D form. Coincidentally, we were using Layar this weekend while walking around a new town, and while we find it much easier to simply use a search engine to find local points of interest — because the Layar browser didn’t always return accurate results — we applaud Layar’s efforts to turn local search into an interactive tool that can provide a fun and unique experience. The app is free and is available in both the Android Market and iTunes App Store now, and Layar says that a new Symbian version with the updated features is in the works. More →
Sure it looks a bit odd in the image above, but don’t be fooled — Layar’s preview of its updated AR interface is as cool as the other side of the pillow. What’s better than augmented reality? 3D augmented reality, of course. We told you about Layar’s AR browser for Android back in August and since then, it looks like the Layar team has really kicked things up a notch. This morning, Layar released three new videos that preview its new 3D augmented reality browser that is currently on display at the Picnic Conference in the Netherlands. As far as how Layar has implemented 3D objects in its browser, here’s a description straight from the horse’s mouth:
Layar 3D makes use of OpenGL, the accelerometer, the GPS and the compass of the phone. Developers can place 3D objects in their content layers based on coordinates. Objects can be optimized in size and orientation to create an immersive and realistic experience. The 3D capabilities support live downloading and rendering of 3D objects. Actions such as “open link” or “play music” can be assigned to 3D objects.
Layar plans to launch its 3D AR product in November as part of its version 3.0 update and to put it mildly, we can’t wait. Hit the jump for the preview videos.
Ok, seriously… Layar kicks ass. Big time. Sure you look ridiculous swinging your phone around to see which new icons jump onto the screen, but it’s totally worth it. For those who haven’t yet heard of Layar, here’s how it works: Using the camera on your Android handset, Layar displays the world around you with an added layer of location-based content on top. So if you search Google or Yelp for a restaurant, the Layar browser will plot results in a 3D layer above the live video displayed on your screen from your camera. But it gets better. Layar is actually a platform more than anything else, so a number of third-party developers have jumped on board to provide their own layers (or Layars). Currently available content includes Flickr, Wikipedia, Yelp, Google local search, Qype, Britekite, Twitter and more. With Layar’s recent announcement, the augmented reality browser is now available globally on the Android OS — it even ships pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy in the Netherlands. What’s more, the company is already eying the iPhone 3GS and plans to have its browser ready for the handset some time next year. In the meantime, Android users need to hit the Android Market ASAP to snag Layar. Hit the jump for a pair of demo videos.