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BlackBerry Bold 9900 / 9930 shipping with magnetometer-friendly augmented reality app

Brian Heater

Sick of all of the RIM news coming out around this week's BlackBerry World in Orlando? Good news, neither are we. If you were still on the fence about the Bold 9900 and 9930, here's something that might sway you back onto Research in Motion's side of the Canadian border. It seems the magnetometer-packing smartphones will ship with World Browser, an app from augmented reality purveyors Wikitude that overlays geo-referenced information from Twitter and Facebook on top of live video shot by the phones. This isn't the first time we've seen the app, of course -- it's also available for iOS, Android, and Symbian devices, which certainly doesn't do much to dispel the notion that the company is still playing catch up with the competition. Perhaps the phones could use a little reality distortion as well.

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New BlackBerry smartphones will include Wikitude's Augmented Reality Browser

RIM unveiled today two shiny new and brilliant smartphones: BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930.

As part of this week's BlackBerry World™ conference in Orlando Florida, where more than 5,000 people have gathered to see the latest BlackBerry innovations, Wikitude and RIM announced their global partnership. Big news coming from the event was the launch of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 smartphones, which feature a built-in compass (magnetometer) enabling augmented reality (AR) technology. These brand new devices will come pre-equipped with the Wikitude World Browser, which overlays information on what the user sees through the smartphone's camera viewfinder.

"The Wikitude team is very excited to see its AR browser as part of BlackBerry's new device proposition" said Martin Herdina, Wikitude's CEO. "BlackBerry's Super Apps concept is the perfect environment for Wikitude to show its full potential as it seamlessly integrates with other applications on the device".

As well as providing more than 150 million geo-referenced places aggregated from over 1,000 different content providers like Wikipedia, Twitter and YouTube, Wikitude will also fully integrate the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) allowing users to interact with their BBM contacts and meet new people in augmented reality. "Combining Wikitude with the overwhelmingly large user base of BBM around the world creates a completely new form of social interaction. This is the very first time that instant messaging is rolled out in AR on such a large scale" says Andy Gstoll, Chief Marketing Officer at Wikitude.

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