Qualcomm introduces updated augmented reality platform, new SDK

Users can access millions of images in the cloud to make applications more useful, Qualcomm says

Qualcomm has expanded its augmented reality platform with cloud-based image recognition, and announced a new SDK for adding contextual information to apps and a developer competition for Windows 8 RT.

Augmented reality is an area that Qualcomm has been pushing for a few years. Its Vuforia SDK (software development kit) allows users to develop applications that superimpose computer-generated content over a live camera view of the real world, according to Qualcomm.

There are different ways to do this but Qualcomm's technology relies on image detection. So the more images an application can access the more useful it becomes, and here is where Qualcomm's new cloud-based image recognition feature comes into play.

To date, Vuforia-based applications have performed image recognition against a local database of up to 80 images, according to Qualcomm. But by using the cloud, recognition can now be done against databases containing more than one million images, it said.

The feature is now available in a private beta test. Developers can make requests to participate in the test on Qualcomm's Vuforia website. Qualcomm plans to announce commercial availability and pricing later this year.

At its developer conference, Qualcomm also announced the Gimbal SDK for Android and iOS, which has been developed by Qualcomm labs and allows developers to build more personalized applications based on user location, among other things.

But Qualcomm isn't just pushing iOS and Android: the company also wants to power as many Windows RT-based products as possible.

To attract developers, Qualcomm is organizing the Windows RT Metro Style App Developer Contest for developers in the U.S., with US$200,000 in cash prizes. Contest categories include best overall Windows RT app, the most compelling connectivity use case, best gaming app, best productivity app and best AllJoyn peer-to-peer application. AllJoyn is an open-source application development framework that enables ad hoc, proximity-based device-to-device communication that is OS agnostic. The AllJoyn for Windows 8 Beta SDK will be available on July 18, according to Qualcomm.

Developers have until Oct. 1 to file their application. The winners will be announced on Oct. 18.

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