The Microsoft and Nokia smartphone alliance is hoping to break major ground with the launch of the first Windows Phone 8 devices, the Lumia 920 and 820, with the Finnish manufacturer embedding some flagship apps on the new devices.
Nokia City Lens was one of the marquee announcements at its latest Lumia 920 launch with the company promising that its augmented reality features can help bring cities to life.
The app has eight sections, such as food, hotels, shopping, helping users navigate their nearby area by highlighting the relevant establishments when pointed in a certain direction.
Users can then click on a selected venue where the details of the venue, such as address phone number and website, are listed. Also included are user reviews, sourced predominantly from TripAdvisor, an insightful inclusion considering that many people cite peer reviews as more influential than ‘expert opinion’.
Usability-wise, the app is also compatible with Windows 7 devices which is an important decision given the Windows ecosystem still lacks the standout apps that its rival platforms, Android and iOS, have in abundance. Simply put, the platform needs the might of a company like Nokia to populate it with quality apps in order to make it a compelling proposition.
In terms of usability, the app couldn’t be any simpler, click, point, look and then engage. It’s really quite simple. Having been a cynic towards AR in the past, I must admit that this app exemplifies how the technology can be used effectively and not just a gimmick which I feel the early executions of AR are.
Incidentally, the app also has a map-interface in case users are self-conscious about looking like a lost tourist gormlessly gazing at the world around them via their smarpthone.
As regards monetisation, I’m unsure if Nokia is charging venues for bookings made via the app but personally I’d find this hard to fathom given its challenger status in the smartphone market. But to raise the point I made above, what this app is geared towards is getting people to reach for a Nokia when they’re deciding on their next, or first smartphone, as opposed to a HTC or a Samsung.
So in terms of raising eyebrows, or initial interest, I’d argue that it’ll do just that.
Other apps in this sector: