Augmented reality applications have been around for a few years now, but now HP is giving consumers a chance to create their own with its new HP Live Photo app and service. HP says the service is available now for users in the U.S., and the app is available for owners of iOS devices (5.1 and higher), with other mobile operating systems coming later this year.
The app lets you create a digital photo print from any video (45 seconds or less) that you've taken with your iPhone - nothing new there, we've seen apps that can do that. But then HP takes it another step - after you physically print the photo, you can then point your phone at the print and view the video.
A promotional video from HP details more about the new service, which is a collaboration with HP and Aurasma, now owned by HP.
The possibilities for this are endless - Users can create a wall of photos that turns into a video wall, or you can print a photo album and then watch the videos when you point your phone at the pictures. If this service takes off, we could see users taking videos first rather than trying to take still images from important family events.
On the business/marketing side, I can see scenarios where companies send postcards to potential clients, and when they point their phones at the image, up comes a cool video. Experiences like this have been promised before, but it looks like HP could be successful here where others have not.
There are a couple of potential blips - if users want to print their photos, they need an HP AirPrint-enabled printer. While users can share these via email and Facebook, there's no ability (yet) for the user to post the Live Photo on a blog post like an embedded YouTube video (that would be cool). HP says it will include a "blue origami icon" with the Live Photo to let recipients know they can view a video from the still image, but there will likely be some confusion there. "Grandma, point your phone at the picture to watch a video!".
Still, this has some great potential - keep an eye on this space to see how HP develops this and whether consumers jump on board with this idea.
Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.