Google’s next version of its Android platform — Honeycomb 3.0, not Gingerbread 2.3 (that’s so last week) — will feature a Google-built augmented reality application that outshines anything on the market today, according to Arab-language Android blog Ardroid. Citing a source who claims to have used the upcoming operating system, which was first publicly shown off by Android founder Andy Rubin on an unannounced Motorola tablet at last week’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference, the site claims that the alleged app will make Layar (pictured above) and friends look “weak and pathetic” in comparison.
No further details were given, other than the fact that Google employees using the current Honeycomb build are “very, very impressed” with it, and that its release is “coming closer than you may imagine.” Well we imagine waiting about six more months for Honeycomb, at least, considering that Gingerbread isn’t yet present on a single shipping device, nor has it even been pushed to developer units at this point. Still, evidence of Honeycomb is showing up in web databases the world over, so we may see Google roll this out sooner than anticipated in order to enable what will no doubt be a flood of Honeycomb-powered tablets.
Augmented reality apps employ numerous device sensors — GPS, compass, accelerometer — to determine the user’s position in 3D space, and allow him or her to view pertinent information overlaid upon real-time, on-screen imagery streamed from the handset’s camera. Practically, this means that you can pan your phone over a given area and see exactly in what direction the closest restaurants are, or perhaps take a self-guided tour of an unfamiliar city. Google already has an application called Google Goggles that allows users to perform searches on items in a photograph, but it neither works perfectly nor accounts for exact spatial positioning.