Announced on September 5th alongside the new Lumia 920, Nokia brought their City Lens augmented reality browser out of beta. Since it’s launch in May, City Lens has been setting a new bar for AR apps by utilizing Nokia’s suite of navigation applications which feature true offline map access rather than cached files.
The augmented reality of City Lens is much the same as other AR applications — using the Lumia’s camera as a viewfinder, City Lens displays nearby restaurants, stores, and other notable locations overlaid onto the image with important information about each location. Additional information (reviews, directions, hours of operation, etc.) are available with just a tap. Fortunately, the application has also has both list and map views available by simply re-positioning the device.
There are many other augmented reality browsers available, for all of the popular mobile platforms: Junaio, Layar and Wikitude are just a few of the top contenders. What sets City View ahead is the combination of the speed of the Nokia Lumia 920 with the power of Windows Phone 8 and the strength of Nokia’s technology.
With Apple’s iPhone 5 and iOS 6 event now less than a week away and a move to their own map application, we wonder if maybe Apple has something up their sleeve as a direct competitor to City Lens running on Windows 8. A quick look at the preview page of the new Maps application shows that all of the pieces are there (direct link), but has Apple made the leap?
We would love to hear your impressions of City Lens if you own a Lumia Windows Phone and your experiences with other augmented reality applications, please leave a comment below.