Posts Tagged ‘video’

Top 6 Augmented Reality Mobile Apps [Videos]

October 9, 2009

Top 6 Augmented Reality Mobile Apps [Videos]

August 19th, 2009 | by Ben ParrComments

A lot of excitement has been building around a category of iPhone and Android apps, most of which have yet to be approved or released. They are known as augmented reality apps.

These applications combine virtual data into the physical real world by utilizing the iPhone 3GS or an Android() phone’s compass, camera, and GPS system. The result is that you can see things like the location of Twitter() users and local restaurants in the physical world, even if they are miles away.

Some of these reality-bending mobile apps are already available on some Android phones and it’s rumored that they will start becoming available on iPhone with the 3.1 OS update. Facial recognition, assisted directions, augmented reality tourism … it is all coming soon.

In order to get a better understanding of this new trend and phenomenon, we’ve brought together six of our favorite augmented reality mobile apps. Note that this is only the beginning; we can only imagine what entrepreneurs will imagine and developers are going to build in the next few years.

1. TwittARound

Ever want to know where tweets are coming from? Sure, there are apps that will show you what tweets are nearby, but they’re nothing like TwittARound, which we covered earlier this month.

TwitARound takes the iPhone’s camera and overlays live video of the world around you with tweets. Move around and you can see who is tweeting and how far away. Because words just don’t do it justice, here’s the amazing demo:

2. Layar

Layar is an augmented reality app available for Google Android phones. It allows developers to create their own augmented reality by adding layers on top of the live video on your phone. Yelp(), Wikipedia(), Google() search, Twitter, and more can be seen through the eyes of Layar. Plus, they have a great introduction to Layar 2.0 with their Layar Man, Episode 1 video:

3. Nearest Tube

Not only is this augmented reality app cool, but it’s useful as well! This iPhone app will help you find the nearest subway station. No need to ask for directions, and you will never get lost.

Okay, just watch and be amazed:

4. TAT Augmented ID

This one not about location, but about people. This app uses the Flickr() facial recognition technology of Polar Rose to identify a person’s face and pull up info like their online profile and contact info. Both creepy and amazing at the same time.

5. SREngine for iPhone

SREngine is a lot like TAT in that it recognizes objects, in this case local scenes and architecture. You could use this type of thing to identify rocks, houses, monuments, bugs … I could go on.

6. Wikitude AR Travel Guide

Why hire a travel guide when you can just hold up your phone and it will bring up Wikipedia information on the site you’re looking at? Yes, seriously, you could learn about practically anything by opening this app up.


Mobile Video Gets Ready for the Masses

October 9, 2009

Mobile Video Gets Ready for the Masses

The Search Continues for the Best (and Most Profitable) Way to Bring Emerging Digital Medium to the Mainstream

By Rita Chang

Published: September 14, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO ( — As with everything in mobile, hype precedes reality and mobile video is no exception. Despite being more than 5 years old, it is a nascent medium searching for a mass audience in a fragmented landscape.

A full-page Coldwell Banker interstitial that pops up in some of the apps created by Rhythm New Media

This year, 6% of U.S. mobile users, or 18 million people, will watch videos on their cellphones, according to IDC, and by 2013 that number will rise to 27 million. Even then, mobile video’s reach is eclipsed by what mobile ad networks already deliver today: Millenial Media said it was reaching 44 million mobile users as of June.

“The campaigns we’ve run to date have shown a lot of promise, but I think the key is that because of the limited reach of mobile video, it works best when combined with other pieces of the mobile marketing toolkit — things like mobile display ads, a solid mobile website for the brand, and even SMS,” said Jeremy Lockhorn, director of emerging media at Razorfish. “Essentially, mobile video can be a bit of a shiny object — much like iPhone applications — sexy and powerful, but chasing after it with irrational exuberance can be dangerous.”

Unlike the desktop environment where people simply head to a website to watch video, in mobile, video-viewing can take place on an app, a mobile website or over the carrier’s streaming TV service.

“Everyone’s trying different things to see what sticks,” said Wayne Purboo, CEO of QuickPlay Media, which powers mobile TV services for carriers such as Alltel and Leap Wireless. “It’s a big sandbox.”

Some startups, like mobile video ad network Transpera, help media companies build free, ad-supported videos that are viewed via an app or the companies’ websites. Transpera charges media clients a service fee for delivering video and shares ad revenue with them. Rhythm New Media, which produces smartphone apps for TV properties suchas “Entertainment Tonight,” charges for some apps but not others, though advertising lives inside all its apps.

Others, like MobiTV, Quickplay Media and MediaFlo, aggregate many channels, replicating a linear TV-viewing experience. They sell their services to carriers, which in some cases brand them as their own and charge viewers a monthly subscription fee, akin to the cable model. Carriers, hungry for data revenue to offset declining voice revenue, realize it’s these types of services that will drive consumers to buy data plans and in some cases are throwing their marketing weight behind them and giving vendors a cut of the subscription revenue. MobiTV also makes money from selling the advertising inventory that comes with licensing its channel partners’ content.

For consumers, the plethora of choices between carrier-branded vs. third-party video services and various ways to access video all add up to a somewhat convoluted landscape. But one trend is starting to emerge: It’s often not free.

After watching online publishers try to unwind the free content giveaway of the last 15 years, some mobile video providers are skeptical that advertising alone can sustain their business. They face the same profitability hurdles that saddle their online peers, including expensive bandwidth, infrastructure and hardware — both Hulu and YouTube, for example, have yet to turn a profit, though both say they’re close.

“There is no one making money today on ad-supported video,” said Mr. Purboo, adding that his company will be profitable within 12 months, and cash flow positive in nine. “I just don’t think we’re going to move to ‘all content is free.’ We’ll move to a mixed model where some content will be free, and quality content that people are willing to pay for will not be free.”

Forrester analyst Neil Strother agrees: “We’ll live in this hybrid world where you can grab some stuff for free but for the richer, deeper content — advertising won’t support that. These guys watched what’s happened with online content and they’re trying to put the genie back in the bottle.”

An open question is whether enough consumers are prepared to pay for small-screen video. Fifty-eight percent of those who have never watched TV on the go rank cost as the top reason for not doing so, according to a survey commissioned by QuickPlay. But the growing subscriber base of channel aggregator mobiTV, which has almost doubled to eight million from a year ago, argues for a more optimistic estimation. The success of Apple’s iTunes, which owns 69% of digital music sales, also suggests consumers will pay for certain content.

And while consumers believe free is an entitlement in the online world, it helps that they haven’t been conditioned to that idea in mobile, where content like ringtones still cost money. There’s also less fear from media owners that mobile channels will cannibalize TV viewing, which means channels like ESPN, which aren’t yet offered in full on the PC web for fear it will cut into its TV audience, are offered through mobile.

Handset fragmentation poses another challenge, and the numerous platforms, ranging from Java to Android, that video providers have to cater to, could potentially sink profitability ambitions.

“Each platform requires new development and costs, and could ultimately either break the model or require consumers to pay more,” said MobiTV CEO Paul Scanlan. “Getting critical mass and meaningful revenue becomes harder to find and-or keep.”

There are a few other things that will need to happen for mobile video to go mass. The first is that more people will need to adopt mobile broadband. Only about 20% of U.S. mobile users have all-you-can-eat data plans, according to Chetan Sharma Consulting. There will also need to be a shift from older, conventional cellphones, whose tiny screens and slow processing power stall video adoption, to smartphones, whose large interactive screens help deliver a better experience. IPhone users, for example, watch six times as much mobile video as a typical mobile subscriber.

That shift is already under way and those in the business say mobile video is on the cusp of significant growth.

“It was only really in 2005 that the [online video] category started to break out and 2006 that it exploded,” said Frank Barbieri, CEO of Transpera. “Mobile video is very close to where online was in early 2005.”

Mobile video consumption on the rise: Nielsen

October 9, 2009

Mobile video consumption on the rise: Nielsen

By Chris Harnick

September 3, 2009

The power of three

According to Nielsen’s Three Screen Report, the number of people watching mobile video increased 70 percent, from more than 9 million to more than 15 million in the last year.

The report also found Americans are increasing their overall media consumption. The Nielsen Company’s second quarter 2009 report found media multitasking is still part of the media consumption equation, but television viewing remains at 141 hours per month, an all-time high.

“Consumers continue adopting new screens of video consumption at impressive rates, but not at the cost of traditional TV viewing,” said Nic Covey, director of insights at The Nielsen Company, Chicago. “Millions of Americans are extending their video experience to the second and third screen and in doing so are growing the overall video pie.

“The American appetite for video seems insatiable as millions of consumers augment their TV viewing with online and mobile,” he said. “Mobile video has posted the most impressive growth in terms of viewers, with reach up 70 percent year over year.

“Though the reach of online video is no longer growing as dramatically, the amount of time spent viewing on PCs is: up a staggering 46 percent year over year, amongst viewers.”

The Nielsen Company is a global marketing and media information company analyzing how people interact with digital platforms, traditional media and in-store environments.

The Three Screen Report found the 15 million people subscribing to mobile video in the U.S. spend on average three hours and 15 minutes each month watching video on their mobile devices.

“For more than 15 million American consumers, mobile video is allowing them to access video content when and where they want it,” Mr. Covey said. “And it’s not just short clips they’re tuning into: our research shows that consumers are relying on their phone for long-form mobile video content, as well, often to rewatch a favorite TV show or catch up on episodes they might have missed.”

Findings also include children 12-17 years old spend the most watching video on their mobile devices at 6 hours and 30 seconds.

Young adults ages 18-24 spend 3 hours and 15 minutes while ages 25-34, 45-54 and 55-64 spend 2 hours and 10 seconds.

Mobile users between ages 35-44 spent 2 hours and 53 seconds. An age base size of 65 and older was too small to report mobile video consumption in terms of hours and minutes.

According to Nielsen’s first quarter 2009 numbers, 41 percent of video consumption on mobile phones was done by females and 59 percent done by males.

“Mobile video has been slow to take off, but the year-over-year growth suggests the tide may be turning,” Mr. Covey said. “Today’s growth is fueled by more advanced devices, faster network speeds and the increasing ability for consumers to access mobile video over mobile Web, rather than through a standalone subscription.

“Marketers who dismissed the mobile video opportunity a couple of years ago might do well to take another look: the audience for mobile video is still modest, but it is growing, engaged and providing first-mover marketers with an opportunity to uniquely interact with their target audiences,” he said.

Mr. Covey said TV programming is amongst the most popular content online and mobile platforms.

“This is important, because TV programming will continue to serve as the fabric that relates these platforms and drives consumer interest and awareness in the second and third screens,” he said.

“Going into the 2009-2010 TV season, programmers will seek out ways to capitalize on the unique utility of each screen while simultaneously providing a more seamless content relationship across the screens, a cross-platform experience that will drive even deeper levels of program and advertising engagement.”

Chris Harnick is an editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer. Reach him at