5 mobile apps to augment your reality
Don’t look now, Google Glass, but you’ve got some competition. The Meta 1 headset offers up 3D augmented reality via a 960 x 540 binocular display. But, if you’re afraid that the Meta 1 will just turn into another fashion disaster ala “White Men Wearing Google Glass,” you don’t have to strap on a fancy headset of any kind in order to enjoy augmented reality. The fact is, augmented reality apps are all over both Google Play and the App Store. Here are some of our favorites.
For: Android Price: Free
My girlfriend doesn’t often crow about her Android phone, but she is constantly talking about the Google Goggles app. It is essentially Google Glass without the headset. It recognizes landmarks, scans QR codes and barcodes, translates foreign text, and adds contacts by scanning business cards. It’s an all in one live reference tool for your eyes, essentially.
For: iOS Price: Free
Layar is the iOS equivalent to Google Goggles – it offers additional interactive content for magazines, newspaper and other advertisements while also supporting QR code scanning and info on thousands of location-based content, from restaurants to historical locations and even ATMs.
For: iOS Price: $3.99
Serious adventurers should check out the Spyglass app for an augmented reality that could come in handy. The app features a viewfinder, mispec compass, gyrocompass, map, tactical GPS, waypoint tracker, speedometer, altimeter, gyro horizon, coordinate converter, sextant, inclinometer, angular calculator and a zoom camera. You can save, find, track and share your position within the app as well. Spyglass even keeps track of the sun, moon and stars, too.
For: Android Price: Free
It’s a bit older than the rest of the apps in this bunch but there’s no better way to figure out what sort of stars and other space hullabaloo are directly overhead than the Sky Map app. It’s like having a reference book pointed up at the sky with you. Identify stars, planets, constellations and more.
For: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone Price: Free
Wikitude is the only app on this list that’s on all mobile platforms, but it’s a good one. It features more than 100 million places and interactive from 3,500 content providers. Content on the app can be organized and bookmarked, and restaurant and hotel recommendations from Yelp, TripAdvisor, Qype and Hotels.com are included as well. Wikitude also comes with additional in-app content for various city guides at $1.99 a piece.
If you’d like to purchase one of those guides for a friend, be sure to head to a store like Target, where you can pick up a Google Play gift card, or Best Buy, where you can grab an iTunes gift card. Both retailers offer 2 percent Cash Back on your purchases, so you’ll have a little extra spending money left over.
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