SomaView Helps Users Discover Their Virtual Neighborhood

somaview_01I’m a big fan of Augmented Reality (AR) apps for Android.  While some might see them as the current fad in mobile apps, I view the concept as just a stepping stone.  Anytime I get a chance to try out a new AR title, I’m game.   Naturally, I was pleased to get an email from Chris Mayer, the developer behind SomaView.

As Chris puts it, SomaView “is the augmented reality app for Android-powered phones that finally allows for usable augmented reality.”  That’s a bold statement to be sure.  What is it about SomaView that separates it from the other AR apps?  It starts with the various information streams of which include Flickr, Google, Panoramio, Qype, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and others.

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I downloaded the app and gave it a quick run through and I have to admit I was impressed.  For a town as small as mine, I was pleased to see so much showing up on the screen.  Restaurants, tweets, and pictures were popping up all over.  I learned the name of a church that’s not too far from me thanks to Panoramio pictures taken and submitted by others.  I also liked having weather conditions sitting at the bottom of the screen for me to access with one touch.

Chris submitted his app to the Android Developers Challenge 2 so I’d like to wish him luck.  You can grab a free version in the Android Market today.  Look for “SomaView Free”.

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9 Comments

  1. @GodsMoon
    September 22, 15:20 Reply

    Come on Guys! If you want to be a reliable source of Android News you have to post a QR code to any app you are reviewing. This is a must!

  2. JamWheel
    September 22, 16:24 Reply

    It is "SomaView Free" you need to look for in the market, not SomeView Free :)

  3. Topper Harley
    September 22, 21:44 Reply

    The app is nice but I can't exit ! I had to remove the battery…

    • Chris
      September 23, 05:58 Reply

      Topper Harley: just press the "Home" button to exit from SomaView

  4. Chris
    September 23, 06:01 Reply

    Scott, thanks for reviewing SomaView!

    BTW: you can "fling" away the weather/address information panel if its in your way. Furthermore, touch an item on the screen to get additional information an touch on an empty space on the screen to hide the additional information. Press "Menu" to get back the categories :)

  5. Chuck Falzone
    September 23, 16:12 Reply

    Played with this app very briefly but it struck me as a Lot like Layar. Nice to have multiple players in the area, tho.

  6. Chris
    September 24, 06:05 Reply

    Chuck, in Layar you select the source where you want the information to come from. In SomaView you select what kind of information you want and each category is backed by a number of different information sources. This is the main difference. As the number of single information sources in Layar grows I have the feeling that you need to know too much about what site provides which information. Therefore, SomaView tries to reduce this problem to categories.

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