Amazon dangles carrot worth $15,000 of Amazon Coins in front of developers to optimize apps for Fire Phone

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Many industry forecasters have said that Amazon has set itself up for failure with its new Fire Phone — the device doesn’t have the specs we’ve come to expect from extreme high-end devices, and some of the features, like the camera identification feature that links straight to the Amazon app, isn’t exactly new in terms of technology (Google Goggles) and seems a bit gimmicky. Not the mention the price is pretty steep (right up there with today’s flagships, the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8) and its AT&T exclusivity.

However, Amazon will be doing anything and everything it can to make sure the device doesn’t fail. Today, the company announced that it will be giving out up to $15,000 in Amazon Coins to developers if they update their apps to be optimized for the Fire Phone. Hit the break to see Amazon’s guidelines regarding what’s on the table here:


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Amazon to implement product-oriented, ‘Google Goggles-like’ 3D object recognition in upcoming Amazon phone

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More and more information has been getting out about Amazon’s upcoming smartphone— we now have details suggesting the device will feature real-word 3D object recognition, much like Google’s “Goggles” application.

Amazon’s version, however, would link images of 3D objects to product pages on Amazon, obviously prodding users to purchase the item they’re looking at.

In Amazon’s patent application for the service, it is called “user guided object identification.”

This will obviously all depend on actual user implementation— it could just be a cool little gadget, or something that people actually use to shop. My guess is the former…


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Amazon Brings Product Scanning & Augmented Reality To Android With “Flow”

Amazon‘s Flow has been available on iOS since November of last year and has finally made its way onto Android. Not unlike Google Goggles, Flow let’s you scan products like DVDs, books, video games, and more, and shows product details, pricing, and a buy button (to purchase from Amazon, of course). The scanning is done by simply pointing your phone’s camera at the product, or scanning the product’s bar code. The Android version of Flow also scans QR codes, a feature currently lacking in the iOS version but expected to come in the future.

Something Flow does on both platforms, however, is provide a live augmented reality view for certain products which displays things like movie trailers and other media using its image recognition technology. Simply point the camera at a DVD cover, for example, and instantly see an overlay popup with movie info and video previews. I guess you can technically call this augmented reality, but it’s not quite as fancy as other AR apps since you’re just looking at a closeup of a single object and seeing related information… something just as easily done by scanning a bar code.

Head on past the break for screenshots and a Play Store download link.


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Google Goggles Gets An Update With Even Better Photo Recognition

Google’s Goggles has just been updated to version 1.6 and adds a feature to analyze pictures taken with the default camera app. By turning this feature on within Goggles, you’ll receive a notification when Goggle’s finds information on the picture you’ve just taken.  Of course, in order to do this, your picture is uploaded to Google’s servers to be analyzed. If you want to check this out for yourself you can grab it here or from the QR code below. Anyone rocking the Goggles?

[via android market]

App Inventor gets a new take on life thanks to MIT

Last week we heard the news that Google’s Android App Inventor was to be shut down. Speculation is that this is due in part to newly appointed CEO Larry Page’s desire to focus the company’s efforts. Of note, App Inventor isn’t the only product affected by this. The entirety of Google Labs is also “being phased out”. This is a significant loss for Android, as the Labs were directly responsible for mobile products we love like Google Goggles, Gesture Search, and Sky Map. What innovative new products might we now miss out on? Luckily the products mentioned above will continue to exist, but other Android Lab projects like BreadCrumb won’t be so lucky. It seemed at first as if App Inventor was also on that “do not recuscitate” list. Thankfully, however, Google announced that they would open source the project to whoever was willing to pick it up. Enter MIT. MIT has come up with a new Center for Mobile Learning to be housed in the famed MIT Media Lab. There, an open-sourced App Inventor will begin again in the hands of its original creator Hal Abelson as well as fellow MIT professors Eric Klopfer and Mitchel Resnick. By this partnership, App Inventor will likely be re-released under a dual Google/MIT license.  
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Google Goggles being used in Museums

The J. Paul Getty Museum and the team behind Google Goggles have gotten together to make life better for everyone in the art exhibit. Visitors can now use Google Goggles to take pictures of the art and instantly be redirected to Getty’s website (or others if you so choose) to get more information. With only a small area to put information in the exhibit, this move is great for people like myself who usually want more information. This can allow museums to put up enough information to summarize the art for the majority of people and allows people who want more to get the full story. Hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg for what can come from Google Goggles.

[via googlemobile]