The important new technology called "augmented reality" is spreading rapidly and is expected to be on Nokia products soon. The first smartphone that may get the new app will be a Nokia Lumia handset powered by the Windows Phone mobile operating system. If you are still not clear what augmented reality is, it is the addition of extra overlapping information into a graphical rendition of an area. In this case, it will be a smartphone that is held up to show where restaurants, hospitals, or other buildings are in the screen. The camera is the channel for the data.
Nokia and Windows Phone may be behind in mobile market share, but they are pushing ahead in technology. The augmented reality app is going to be part of a Windows Phone "tile" that has a selection of maps, lists and the app itself. Hotels, restaurants, stores, famous sights and just about anything else of interest will be in the app. As a user uses the camera to scan an area, the app will show extra information about that area. Those that are close to the user will have the focus. If the user happens to not like the "view", it is not going to be a problem. The app will be controlled by the accelerometer in the phone. Holding the Nokia phone horizontally will show the graphical aspects, while turning the phone vertically will show a list in text.
Other companies like Yelp are making the same type of app for smartphone users. They call their augmented reality app "Monocle". Nokia calls their version "City Lens". But Yelp is ahead of Nokia, since it is already available for Android or iOS devices. Users of both say the Nokia version is easier on the eyes. The overall look of the City Lens app from Nokia is also better. One of the problems of the Yelp version is that businesses that are no longer in business are listed in the app.
The Nokia augmented reality app is not as well supplied with information as the Yelp app. Customer reviews are lacking in the Nokia app simply because Yelp got them first. Some places that are in the Nokia augmented reality app have few ratings while the same shop in Yelp will have hundreds. The Nokia app is still in beta at the moment and is not going to have all the bugs programmed out. Development and input will continue to improve the app as time goes on. For now the app has problems with compass calibrations. Expect the Nokia Lumia and Microsoft Windows to have the app ironed out and ready for Prime time soon.