Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Nokia launched its City Lens augmented reality for Lumia devices in May and the Finnish company has just added a number of new features for owners of the Windows Phone 7 devices that give greater control and information, including a new Sightline feature, the option to pin of favorites and a pause mode.
Still in beta, the app gives users an outlet for urban discovery, and it displays nearby points of interest — like restaurants museums or theaters — in an AR-style view via the phone’s camera, while it can be configured to a list or displayed as a map.
Among the updates, City Lens 1.5 gives users more options cut through the noise to see what’s directly in front of them, grab information as they scan, pause their view — which can be particularly useful when in a busy area — and more, as the Nokia Beta Labs blog details:
- See just what’s in front of you. Normally, City Lens shows you all the places nearby—even around the corner or a block away. In crowded areas, that can be a lot to take in. Our new Sightline features lets you switch your view to only what’s in your direct line of sight, making it easier to spot great places that are right in front of you.
- Quick info: Get information while you look. Now you can quickly view a place’s address without leaving your camera view. Just tap to view the information overlaid on your display while you keep scanning. When you’re ready to learn more about the place, another tap pulls up its complete information.
- Pause your view. When scanning your surroundings in camera view, you can now freeze your view and study your options without having to keep your phone pointed at the target.
- Pin categories to start: Your most common searches with a tap. City Lens now lets you pin favorite categories to your home screen. Now wherever you are, you can find something you love nearby with just a tap.
- Create Live Tiles: What you want at a glance. City Lens lets you search for your favorite things whether it’s books or sushi and lets you pin your favorite searches to your home screen.
AR apps have been talked about for some time but City Lens, which was initially available on Symbian devices, has been widely heralded as being particularly slick and useful; thanks to the rather delightful Windows Phone user interface. Part of the Nokia labs project, it is still not as polished as a fully released app, but it is listed as likely to graduate to a commercial product.
This Nokia video, released when the beta app came to the Lumia earlier this year, gives a sneak at how the app comes together. Download it at the link below, obviously you’ll need to be part of the beta labs program to get it.
➤ City Lens 1.5 (beta)
Headline image via Adam Wasilewski / Shutterstock
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