Mobilizy, maker of the Wikitude augmented-reality apps for iPhone, Android, and Nokia phones, has announced Wikitude Drive, the first augmented-reality turn-by-turn navigation app for Android phones (OS version 1.6 or greater). The app utilizes the phone's camera and GPS receiver in tandem, layering the selected route over a live view of what's ahead of the car. Sort of like Google Maps' Street View, but in real time.
The Wikitude Drive app entered limited beta Thursday for the first 2,000 downloads from the Android Market. Once the app hits the 2,000 mark, it will be pulled until either the beta ends or is expanded.
Our first impression of the addition of augmented reality (AR) to GPS navigation's bag of tricks is positive--the app looks pretty cool. However, on such a small screen, there also appears to be the potential for driver distraction. It seems like this technology would be better implemented in a sort of head-up display rather than a discrete monitor. Users can toggle between the AR view and a more traditional 3D map view with a simple screen tap, but that seems to sort of defeat the purpose of using the app.
If you missed the beta, don't fret. We have a fresh copy that we're putting through the paces and will bring you a full rundown soon. In the meantime, check out this video demoing the Wikitude Drive app for Android: