Welcome back to the BlackBerry Developer Spotlight. This week’s developer is Andy Gstoll from Wikitude. Wikitude World Browser is the app that brings Augmented Reality to BlackBerry OS 7 devices. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to know what you’re missing. Here’s what the Wikitude World Browser is and what Andy had to say.
I love the Wikitude World Browser. It’s one of those free apps that lets you see what’s going on around you in augmented reality, or AR. We were lucky enough to have some time to speak with Andy and ask him our questions, and it was great to hear the positive tone resonate in the conversation. Wikitude is available in the BlackBerry App World. Here’s the description:
Wikitude World Browser allows you to discover your surroundings in a completely new way. By using the camera, simply hold up your smartphone and explore what’s around you in Augmented Reality (AR). See places, points of interests and even your BBM contacts through your camera’s field of vision – a truly engaging and immersive experience. Wikitude World Browser has been voted “Best Augmented Reality browser in both 2009 and 2010”!
Search through lots of exciting content and points of interest from Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter, Flickr, Starbucks and thousands more. Use Wikitude to browse through what’s around you or to specifically search for places you are interested in. Craving sushi? Just type “sushi” into Wikitude’s search box, hold up your phone and see all the sushi restaurants around you. Looking for special offers near your home or nearest shopping centre? Simply view all the augmented reality mobile coupons to get up to 50% off ! You can even create your own places in augmented reality, for example your favourite bar, restaurant or meeting point. Go to www.wikitude.me and drop markers on a map to create your own place or hundreds of places. Hit the upload button and a few seconds later your personal places will be visible in the Wikitude.me World on your mobile.
It’s so easy to set up, you calibrate your compass, and discover what is out there hiding.
Features are as follows:
- Find events, tweets, Wikipedia articles, ATMs, restaurants, user reviews and much more around you
- Interact with your BBM contacts and discover new BBM users around you as you have never done before.
- Experience places near you in augmented reality or show them on a map or list view
- Browse more than 150 million places and interactive content from more than 1,000 content providers or so called “Worlds”
- Explore and identify places and objects near by
- Search for specific places, for example “thai restaurant”
- Find mobile coupons and discounts for stores and shops near you
Here’s our phone interview with Andy:
Thanks Andy for taking the time to speak with us. We love Wikitude and are very impressed with it. It’s great to show new smartphone users Wikitude and allow them new ways to discover what’s out there. So let’s get started.
What apps have you developed for BlackBerry devices?
How long have you been developing apps for BlackBerry?
“Since December 2010.”
What inspired you or interested you into developing apps for BlackBerry?
” Since 2009 we’ve been developing for multiple platforms: Android, iOS, and Symbian. BlackBerry was a major platform for our portfolio.”
What are your favorite personal apps for BlackBerry?
“Blackberry Travel, Foursquare, and Facebook.”
What is the biggest or most difficult challenge for developing apps for BlackBerry?
“We’ve been very well treated by RIM with support from their UK and Waterloo departments. Developmentally speaking it’s been fantastic.”
What are the major differences in developing for OS 5, OS 6, OS 7, and QNX?
“Most OS 7 devices have a digital compass so AR works great. We currently are working on the OS 6 version but the augmented reality will be missing since all OS6 devices lack a compass. RIM has great resources and support for developers to develop for the various operating systems.”
What sort of apps can we look forward to from you in the future?
“ The Wikitude World Browser is our focus. Our goal is to develop the platform further so that third party developers can build great AR experiences on it. We now have more than 2,000 content providers already, this is growing everyday and we help 3rd party devs to engage in building on our AR platform.”
As a developer, what are the most appealing aspects or features you can integrate into BlackBerry apps?
“BBM absolutely by far is the most appealing. 9 out of 10 users connect BBM into Wikitude. And if you connect and use the public setting in the Wikitude BBM connection, you’re able to find more friends who have BBM. Most users use that setting.”
What for you, are the most rewarding incentives of developing a BlackBerry app?
“There’s tons of marketing and carrier support. Wikitude has had great exposure including ads featuring our World Browser” After this comment, Andy shared a story where he was at a London train station, looked up and saw an ad with Wikitude he didn’t know about and how much of a surprise and compliment it was to see it.
In comparison to Android and iPhone apps, how does the development for BlackBerry apps compare?
“There’s a big difference. BBM is an essential social part of BlackBerry and we were really the first to bring instant messaging to augmented reality. Using AR you can see where your friends are located. Choose the public setting to make yourself visible to others and make new friendships. Overall, the Wikitude experience is very similar on all platforms. Universal Search on BlackBerry is another unique feature though. There are some other things like differences in icons styles on iPhone and Android, we try to develop a good experience for what users are used to platform wise. BBM is an exception as it’s very unique.”
What advice would you give to an inspiring developer who wants to develop BlackBerry apps?
“I think if you want to develop to BlackBerry, then consider the new platform. That new platform around the corner is QNX. Just don’t spend too much time on the old platform. If the app is sophisticated, go straight to QNX.”
Is there anything you’d like to add or say as a developer to the BlackBerry community?
“We would like to encourage the developer community out there to check out our technology to build great AR experiences. If you have a cool idea and interesting content for AR, we’d be delighted to see it on Wikitude and make it available to millions of Wikitude users. You can find more information at http://developer.wikitude.comWikitude and its content is very unique to every region and city, so we’d love to see more locally relevant content. This makes Wikitude even more useful and relevant.Wikitude is of course on Facebook and we invite you to check it out to keep up with the latest. We believe BlackBerry is a fantastic platform and that RIM is going in the right direction with QNX. We are preparing accordingly and encourage other developers to join us.”
And we agree wholeheartedly with Andy that RIM is heading in the right direction with QNX. We’d like to send a big shoutout and thank you to Andy and the team from Wikitude for the great app and for taking the time to give us their insight. It was very nice and really refreshing to chat with Andy and hear how excited they are with the possibilities. We have the links listed for downloading the Wikitude World Browser from BlackBerry App World, Wikitude’s Developer page, and their Twitter. Also for those developers out there, we invite you to come step into the Spotlight with us. If you’re interested, please email us or tweet us on Twitter. If you have any questions specifically for us, or for Wikitude, please leave them in the comments and we’ll get you the answers you’re looking for. Thanks for joining us for this week’s BlackBerry Developer Spotlight.