A 3D version of the Wikitude augmented-reality browser will be available on the upcoming LG Optimus 3D smart phone. Like the Nintendo 3DS, the Optimus 3D can produce a three-dimensional image without requiring you to wear daft glasses.
Wikitude has been available for Android smart phones for over a year, but, until now, could only show off your surroundings in 2D. Thanks to the dual cameras and tri-dimensional display of the Optimus 3D, it's now possible to render more realistic cityscapes.
Wikitude uses the phone's built-in GPS, motion sensor and compass to locate your position, and then the camera displays your current view on the screen. Icons are overlaid on top of the image on the screen, providing information on your surroundings. Wikitude boasts information on over 100 million worldwide locations, collated from over 1,000 content providers, including both online and offline sources, as well as user-generated content.
The potential for this kind of technology is huge. You could have 3D historical tours, as provided by the existing 2D Streetmuseum app, or perhaps a multiplayer video game that responds to your surroundings and can identify nearby players. Don't be surprised if advertisers get in on the act too. Flashing neon 'Buy your burgers here' signs might be irritating, but, arguably, it'd still be better than real-world marketing clutter.
It probably won't be that easy to use the Wikitude browser as a pedestrian, though. For a start, you need to keep both the Optimus 3D and your head fairly still to maintain a constant 3D view. Secondly, the phone's cameras have to be pointed at the scene you want to get information on. All that means you'll probably have to stand still to use the app effectively -- and, if there's one thing we hate, it's standing still.
Something else we hate is rubbish battery life. We can image a high-powered app like this caning the Optimus 3D's battery something rotten.
The app will be available in mid-June as a free download from the LG World app store. The Optimus 3D also looks set for a June release date.