Dumb Smartphones

Amazon Fire Phone: The Solution to None of Your Problems

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At the Standard Hotel in New York City last night, AT&T held an event where a slew of reporters queued up for a momentary, tightly controlled preview of the Amazon Fire Phone. No videography was allowed, but it was enough time to see what sets the Fire Phone apart from the competition. The verdict is dim, even compared to something as dismal as a Windows Phone.

The front of the phone is surrounded by 3D cameras that track the motion of your face to see how your head orients to the phone. On a map of New York City, moving the gadget around in front of our eyes caused us to peek around the buildings. In order to see into the distance, we tilted the phone like we were searching for something hidden inside the edge of the screen, which was a little cool at first, but was more glitzy then convenient. Read More

Planet Google

Ingress Now Available on iPhone, Turns NYC Into a Sweaty Sci-Fi Battlefield

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iPhone-equipped New Yorkers now have something to do outside this summer besides defend their devices from thieves and sweat to death in this heat. Ingress, an augmented reality game popular in urban areas and previously available only on Android, is now officially available on iOS devices.

Ingress uses geomapping to transform real urban landscapes into a playing field that gets players moving around their city, fighting over portals and collecting resources — a smartphone game that’s played entirely IRL. The game’s sci-fi backstory, which involves an invading alien force that opposing teams of players either welcome or resist, evolves and grows constantly depending how well the real-life teams are doing. Read More

The Future Will See You Now

Intel’s New Laptop Can Read Your Emotions, Make Everything 3D

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The tech world has been buzzing about Amazon’s new Fire Phone, which has a small array of simple 3D cameras on the front. But today, Intel showed off their new 3D camera tech, and it already makes Amazon’s attempt seem quaint.

Intel has been working for years and has spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” on developing the depth-sensing cameras. They call the technology RealSense because of the lifelike way the cameras take the world in. Read More

startup rundown

Startup Rundown: Food52 Doles Out Provisions and Etsy Makes it Virtually Impossible Not To Online Shop

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Blippar crosses the pond Introducing Blippar: the new advertising tool that’s kind of like a QR scanner, but cooler. The UK-based augmented reality app—now with offices in New York—helps companies create sweet, interactive advertisements. Using the Blippar app, consumers can scan (or “blipp”) special images, and watch as they instantaneously convert into videos, polls, Read More

Planet GOOG

Much Like GOOG-411, Google’s New Augmented Reality Game Ingress Is a Genius Ploy to Get You To Collect Data

(Photo: Google Play store)

When Google launched its new worldwide alternative reality game earlier this month, the web lit up with widespread questions. The game, called Ingress, allows users to move through the physical world with their Android devices, collecting pockets of energy in various locations that they can then use to complete virtual quests. It was an interesting idea, but on the surface appeared to not make any significant contributions to the company’s bottom line. Why would Google, which has $217.59 billion market cap, allocate time and resources to a free Android game?

Technology Review called it “augmented reality’s first killer app.” AllThingsD reported that because the game incorporates real stores and businesses into its plotline, it’s a natural next-level venue for advertisers–Zipcar, Jamba Juice and Chrome apparel have already all signs on to host ads on Ingress. Read More

The Future Will See You Now

Google Officially Introduces Creepily Futuristic Augmented Reality Glasses

Won't be so smiley when there's malware on his face. (Photo: Google+)

It’s well-known that all Googlers are brainiacs, but the Google X team represents the cream of the crop: some of the most elite programmers and thinkers in the company are handpicked for Google X, which is tasked with some of the most innovative projects Google outputs. The most recent manifestation of Google X’s collective brilliance? Project Glass, Google’s attempt at augmented reality glasses. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Warped Perception Edition

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Obvious Engine’s augmented reality technology works without those funny bar codes [The Verge]

Silicon Valley startup Nicira, which raised $50 million last year, opened to the public today and announces impressive customer list including AT&T, Fidelity and eBay [Business Insider]

Ten-thousand tweets per second in the final three minutes of the Super Bowl [TechCrunch]

Sony and Panasonic expect heavy losses [Business Week]

Surprise, surprise, Facebook still has deleted photos on its servers after three years [Ars Technica]