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Qualcomm Augmented Reality Platform gets commercial release

Qualcomm has released the commercial v1.0 build of its Augmented Reality Platform, enabling Android app developers to integrate AR into their software. The Qualcomm AR Android SDK and AR Unity Extension allow for games like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots as shown at Uplinq 2010. Beta versions of the AR Platform were released last year, with Qualcomm demonstrating an interesting augmented reality photo frame concept which used the camera on Android handsets to identify different displays and then easily change what was being shown on them. This v1.0 release of the SDK now means developers can release apps commercially using the technology; Qualcomm says they'll work on any Android 2.1+ device, though suggests that performance will be stronger on those using Snapdragon chipsets. Qualcomm's AR Platform is available to download at developer.qualcomm.com/ar now. There's a demo of the AR photo frame concept below. [vms 97ccb54be14d6a47439b] Press Release:
Qualcomm Announces Commercial Release of its Augmented Reality Platform Platform Enables Android Developers to Create and Distribute Vision-based AR Applications SAN DIEGO — April 27, 2011 — Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced the immediate commercial availability of its Augmented Reality (AR) Platform for Android smartphones. Offered through Qualcomm’s online developer network, this 1.0 release marks the successful completion of the Company’s beta program. Developers can now build, market and commercially distribute applications based on the Qualcomm AR platform. Qualcomm’s award-winning AR platform will enable a broad range of experiences that entertain, engage and inform consumers with a new form of interactive media. The platform’s rich feature set enables developers to build high-performance, interactive 3D experiences on real world images, such as those used in print media (books, magazines, brochures, tickets, signs) and on product packaging. The platform supports multiple development environments. The Qualcomm AR Android SDK supports native Android development with the Android tool chain, including the Android SDK and NDK. The Qualcomm AR Unity Extension supports rapid development with the Unity 3 game development tool. A web application is also included for creating and managing image resources that can be used with either development environment. Industry-leading performance is achieved through Qualcomm’s innovations in advanced computer vision algorithms and close integration of hardware and software. The effect of this performance is a higher fidelity user experience in which graphics content appears more real against the real world background. While applications built on the platform will run on all Android smartphones using Android 2.1 or greater, optimal performance will be exhibited on phones using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon™ chipset. “Qualcomm has a long history of providing advanced technologies that drive innovation and opportunity for the mobile ecosystem,” said Jay Wright, senior director of business development, Qualcomm. “We continue the tradition by making leading AR technology widely available to developers for commercial use. With more than 6,000 registered developers, we look forward to a new generation of AR applications available in the Android Market and other application stores.” Qualcomm and BigPlayAR recently collaborated with the Dallas Mavericks to introduce the first commercial application using Qualcomm’s platform. Mavs AR, a game developed by Big PlayAR, has enabled fans attending the Mavs playoff games at American Airlines Center to point their smartphone running the Mavs AR application at their ticket to play a virtual basketball game in the palm of their hands. “We are thrilled with Mavs AR – it has really added a new layer of fun and interaction to the Mavs fan experience,” said Mavs owner Mark Cuban. “Based on the game’s success, we expect to use AR for future fan promotions, and Qualcomm’s AR platform has demonstrated itself as a powerful platform for creating these types of 3D experiences.” The Qualcomm AR Platform is available immediately at developer.qualcomm.com/ar

Samsung Galaxy S II: Extreme Unboxing! [Video]

The things we here at Android Community will do to get our hands on the latest gadgets! Samsung invited me to crank the traditional unboxing process up to 11 last week, taking to a 300bhp Subaru Impreza rally car to talk about the company's new flagship Galaxy S II Android smartphone in the most unusual of situations.

Vodafone HTC Wildfire S hands-on [Video]

The HTC Wildfire S is not exactly unfamiliar to us - we fondled its compact curves back at MWC 2011 - but we won't pass up an opportunity to have a second play. Vodafone offered us some hands-on time with one of its special edition versions; the carrier will offer not only the general white Wildfire S, but a grey model and a purple model. Our initial positive impressions of the Wildfire S remain. The handset feels far more high-quality than its plasticky predecessor, with the chassis and design more like that of the Desire S. The UI may not be Sense 3.0 as on the HTC Sensation but v2.1 is at least smooth-running and as consistent as we're used to. The 600MHz processor feels equally capable, and the HVGA display is bright and crisp. We can see the Wildfire S being a particular success among those looking for a super-compact device that can easily drop into a pocket or purse when it arrives on the market this coming summer. Update: It's worth remembering that this is non-final software, and we can probably expect an even slicker experience when the ROM is polished. [vms 045e91288b430794814c] [gallery]

Samsung Galaxy Tab wireless TV streaming [Hands on]

Samsung has a new feature for their Galaxy Tabs coming out which will add wireless TV streaming. Chris Davies over at Slashgear got a look at it during IFA 2011. Originally announced back in February, the new feature enables users of the Samsung D7000 or D8000 HDTVs to stream wirelessly to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 out of the box. It's very similar to Samsung's AllShare DNLA client, but it works the other way, with the HDTV transcoding the signal and sending it wirelessly to the Galaxy Tab.

Hannspree’s SN10T1 Tablet [HANDS ON]

Chris Davies over at Slashgear was able to get a hands on with the Hannspree SN10T1 Tablet and the first impression is, you get what you pay for. Because it's screen resolution falls short of the 1200x800 display, it can't incorporate Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), Hanspree was forced to settle for Android 2.2 (Froyo). In addition, it comes without the Android Marketplace installed because Hanspree didn't provide all the phone functionality that's required for the official Android Marketplace. So instead, it has a third party app store called Android PITs App Center. Still, there's a lot under the hood to consider.

HTC Sensation Live: Hands-On [Video]

We've grown used to HTC rolling out solid, compelling Android smartphones, but the HTC Sensation threatens to take things to another level. A slick unibody design that's both narrower and thinner than the HTC Desire HD yet still manages to accommodate a 4.3-inch qHD display and 1.2GHz dual-core processor, the Sensation promises both speed and usability in spades. Read on for the Android Community first-impressions. HTC's metal stylings have grown increasingly refined over the past few years, and the Sensation is no different. Smooth edges nestling neatly into the hand, the slightly concave touchscreen is easy to use and responsive, and indeed the whole Gingerbread OS whips along nicely. There are no shortage of bells & whistles to the UI, either, with various new 3D effects as you slide between homescreen panes, an updated weather app with richer animations, and menus that generally open and transition with zero lag. The core apps have had a sprinkle of magic dust too, so you get the option of body-text previews in the HTC Mail app (either 2, 3 or 5 lines along with the sender and subject) and a Video Trimming function to pare down 1080p HD stereo clips recorded with the 8-megapixel camera. The display is bright and vivid, with the S-LCD screen technology being color-saturated and crisp. That - along with the 16:9 aspect ratio - makes it ideal for watching movies, and of course there's HTC Watch to satisfy that. The new rental/purchase store will offer either carrier billing or credit card payments, depending on your choice of operator, and supports 3G/WiFi trailer previews, optimized downloads of full content (over WiFi only) that start playing within 10s thanks to some smart buffering, and the ability to access content rented or purchased on up to five HTC devices. Unfortunately, you can't watch the same content on your PC or Mac, thanks to DRM limitations, which leaves you reliant on the HDMI connectivity for putting clips on a bigger display. HTC won't be bundling the HDMI dongle in the box with the Sensation, at least initially, but it will be offering two versions: one powered by the Sensation itself, and another with a separate USB port for powering it and recharging the phone. A dock is also in the works, and the HDMI offers not only video playback but general screen mirroring, useful for browsing on your HDTV or even using a remote log-in app and taking charge of your PC desktop from afar. Unfortunately there's no OnLive gaming, nor the HTC Video Chat app shown on the Flyer at MWC 2011. The former may eventually make an appearance, when HTC has ironed out licensing issues in all territories, but the latter is still being held up by cautious carriers and HTC has no timescale for its release. Still, Skype and other generic video calling apps will be able to use the Sensation's front-facing camera. While the HTC Sensation will break with tradition and see a global launch - in the US with T-Mobile as the HSPA+ toting HTC Sensation 4G, in Europe with, initially, exclusivity to Vodafone, and on unspecified Asian carriers - there won't be a single SKU with 3G/4G bands for all territories. Instead, somewhat annoyingly, there will be different models for each. HTC tells us it's a compromise to help keep the Sensation slim, as is the combination microUSB/HDMI port and absence of a physical camera shortcut. Nonetheless, we can't help but come away impressed by the HTC Sensation. As a device to take on the Motorola ATRIX 4G or Samsung Galaxy S II it's everything we hoped it would be from the pre-announce rumors, and the combination of slick design, optimized software and HTC's useful online suite of services (including remote access, sync and tracking) add up to a compelling package at the top end of Android devices. [vms a2b4e80506f582af3676] [gallery]

IOIO for Android detailed: Project samples from USB breakout board [Video]

We mentioned SparkFun's brilliant new IOIO for Android earlier this week, a USB I/O breakout board for Android smartphones which turns your handset into a super-Arduino of sorts. Now the brains behind the board, Ytai, has spilled the beans on the project, including some sample code and a handful of ideas that you can use IOIO to create. For instance, there's the Retroid, a smart alarm clock which can be told to make different ringing patterns and show various LEDs depending on incoming calls, messages and other events on the handset. Or the Visual Charger, a huge multi-segment LED power indicator which gives an at-a-glance idea of what percentage the smartphone's battery is at. [youtube 8sAvXCfEj3s] We prefer the Wall Printer, though, which uses seven Sharpie-style market pens hooked up to servos for an old-school printer effect controlled by an Android phone. Definitely worth considering if you're into Android and electronics; you can pre-order the IOIO for Android here, for $49.95. [youtube aYUMYyXBaF0] [via Twitter]

Sony Ericsson offers videos to answer Xperia questions

To a novice user, getting a smartphone like the Sony Xperia Arc can be like diving into the deep end of the pool. Sony Ericsson appreciates that and has released a series of videos to help answer questions of potential new Android customers. The videos explore specific features of each phone and answer questions. But there's also a support aspect which makes these videos quite useful for the novice user.

Sonos Controller for Android delayed

Sonos has confirmed delays in the release of the Android controller app, which will now arrive sometime in April. Originally the company had promised to release it this month. "We know you’re anxiously awaiting the Sonos Controller for Android. Unfortunately, testing the app is taking a bit longer than we anticipated" Andrew Schulert, Vice President of quality at Sonos says. "The latest addition to our free controller line-up won’t arrive until April, but when it does, it is going to rock." More info on the app here. [vms 2108eee6dd897f3bca8a]

T-Mobile prices Sidekick 4G messaging phone [Video]

T-Mobile has confirmed official pricing for the incoming Sidekick 4G, the first handset in the popular messaging line to use Android as its OS. The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G will be priced at $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate on a qualifying plan with unlimited data, assuming you're content with a two-year agreement. Alternatively, T-Mobile will be offering the slider smartphone for $149.99 with a qualifying plan including data (such as the Web – 200MB plan) on a two-year agreement. Handy for those who don't expect to use so much data during the lifetime of the device, but a little more expensive up-front. We'll be checking out the Sidekick 4G at CTIA 2011 this week, to see how well it follows in the footsteps of its popular predecessors. No word on exact release dates at this stage. [youtube RgnMrnEkX0g] [gallery id="28217"]
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