Snapchat Users Can Now Create World Lenses with AR Tool

Snapchat launched its Lens Studio AR developer tool for desktop that enables users to build augmented reality experiences for the platform. Anyone can now create World Lenses for adding interactive 3D objects to photos and video content. “But brands, news publishers and developers will have to promote their own Lenses by marketing their QR Snapcodes that users scan to unlock an AR effect for 24 hours,” reports TechCrunch. “That’s because Snapchat won’t display these Community Lenses in its camera unless businesses pay a partnered creative agency to build them a special effect and then buy Sponsored Lens ads from Snap.” Continue reading Snapchat Users Can Now Create World Lenses with AR Tool

Amazon Unveils New 3D Fire Phone with Dynamic Perspective

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the company’s new Fire Phone yesterday in Seattle. The 4.7-inch smartphone, which features a 3D display that detects where eyes are looking on the screen with “Dynamic Perspective,” will be available July 25 starting at $200. The device includes a scanning feature with its Firefly app, which allows users to scan products, signs, UPC or QR codes (ideal for shopping on Amazon), and Shazam-like features to identify songs and pinpoint scenes in movies or TV shows. Continue reading Amazon Unveils New 3D Fire Phone with Dynamic Perspective

Google Unveils Thinner Nexus 7 Tablet with Hi-Res Screen

Google unveiled a new thinner version of its Nexus 7 tablet yesterday, this one also made by ASUS, featuring a 1920 x 1200 screen and pixel density of 323 ppi. The CPU has moved up to a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm S4 Pro paired with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The 7-inch tablet also features the updated Jelly Bean 4.3 operating system. The new Android OS offers support for multiple users with restricted profiles and Bluetooth LE for pairing with wireless accessories. Continue reading Google Unveils Thinner Nexus 7 Tablet with Hi-Res Screen

Alibaba Unveils Smart TV Operating System and Set-Top Box

Chinese online-commerce company Alibaba is the latest tech firm to target the living room, with its new smart TV operating system and a set-top box. The company joins a crowded group that includes Apple, Lenovo, Samsung and others that are exploring the emerging market. Alibaba plans to integrate its Alipay electronic-payment service into the TV software. The company cited declining growth of PC use in China as a motivation for the move into TVs. Continue reading Alibaba Unveils Smart TV Operating System and Set-Top Box

Discover App Uses Digital Watermarks for Scanning Images and Video

  • Digimarc moves beyond ‘watermark’ to a ‘desireable consumer experience’ with its new Discover app that “lets users capture visual and audio input with a smart phone and search for related information,” reports MIT’s Technology Review.
  • “Discover combines a variety of media search functions into a single app that will allow users to scan images, audio, video, and even barcodes or QR codes (two-dimensional versions of barcodes) — all without switching between apps.”
  • The CE manufacturers historically objected to installing watermark detectors because the content industry wanted to use them to stop undesired consumer behavior.
  • This app and others like it offer consumers a positive experience that could make that argument moot, and it could support new business models.
  • The free app is available for iOS and Android phones.

QR Codes Proliferating: Are You Ready to Become a Human Hyperlink?

  • Quick Response (QR) codes are beginning to resonate with a variety of users. Retailers, publishers, art institutions, musicians, government organizations and charities are all using QR codes to direct customers to a variety of online opportunities (contests, information, party invites and more).
  • The QR codes are square, checkered symbols that can be scanned with smartphones by downloading free scanner apps.
  • Starbucks used QR codes for a scavenger hunt, the Red Cross used them to direct people to a relief donation page, ABC included codes in magazine ads for the new series “Pan Am” and now every 2013 vehicle in dealer showrooms will be required by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to have QR-coded fuel economy labels.
  • A company called Skanz now sells silicone braceletes with QR codes so anyone can scan your wrist and access a Web page with your contact information, social media links, and more. You can create different “Skanzsites” for professional and personal use and if you don’t want to wear a bracelet, you can instead buy iPhone4 cases with codes on them or QR decals.