Qualcomm turns augmented reality into a mobile gaming platform

Qualcomm turns augmented reality into a mobile gaming platform
Imagine focusing the camera of your Android powered phone at a empty table cloth. The display magically shows a classic Rock'Em Sock 'Em robotic heavyweight fight that you control. This is just one of the dreams that Qualcomm has for augmented reality. The company on Monday announced that it will offer a new augmented reality platform and make software developer kits (SDK) available for free to those who will develop commercial applications using the new platform. At the same time, Mattel has become one of the first consumer products company to work on products with the SDK provided by Qualcomm. One of the first games to use the platform is an augmented reality version of the toy maker's Rock'Em Sock'Em Robots. The robots are not physically present on the table, but thanks to Qualcomm's platform, they appear when using the phone's camera and looking at the display. Qualcomm also partnered with Unity Technologies, one of the leading game engine developers, to help support the applications by handling low-level functions which frees up the developer to concentrate on more important aspects of a game being developed.

Qualcomm also announced that it is offering prizes totaling $200,000 to the winners of its first Augmented Reality Application Developer Challenge. Developers must use Qualcomm's SDK to produce "the most effective, entertaining and functional new application package". Details about the contest can be found at this link. Submissions will be accepted sometime this coming November through January 7th 2011 and the winner will be announced at MWC 2011. The first place winner will receive $125,000 with $50,000 awarded for second place and $25,000 going to the third place selection. A Qualcomm rep stated that for games like Rock'Em Sock 'Em robots to be financially viable, the platform must work across multiple platforms. While the early focus has been on Android, a three way battle was set up between an Android powered Nexus One using Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi running Nokia N900 using Maemo and a  Dell Latitude laptop, all synchronized and playing the same game using three separate and different platforms.

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source: Qualcomm, Mattel via Engadget

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