How to preview that DVD on your phone

Last week when I stopped by at Qualcomm’s campus in San Diego to get an update on the mobile chip giant, Jay Wright, Senior Director of Business Development showed me some cool applications of Augmented Reality technologies. Qualcomm (s QCOM) believes that augmented reality can act as a vital bridge between the physical world and the Internet’s data trove via the smartphone. Of course, the chip giant wants to champion augmented reality because it means more demand for high-powered mobile chips that Qualcomm makes.

Take for instance this demo app I saw that allowed you to focus the camera of your smartphone on a sealed DVD and instantly watch a trailer of the movie inside the without opening the packaging. You can watch two trailers at the same time as well.

The app takes a look at the DVD cover image, maps it to the online database and streams back the trailer in real-time. However, in order to make it happen, the phone needs a powerful dual-core Snapdragon chip, a fast 3G/WiFi connection and powerful graphics processor. It is easy to dismiss this as a gimmick, but using augmented reality to preview goods sealed inside boxes or getting additional information is a stellar idea.

“GPS, camera and compass in tandem can do some pretty amazing things,” Wright argued. I agree.

So far Augmented Reality has stayed in the realm of travel or location apps, but in reality it is simpler, easy to use scenarios such as the one I outlined above that is the best step forward. It is highly focused and adds value to an inanimate product in a simple, easy manner. Or as Wright said, “Augmented Reality is more than a mapping experience.”

From our archives: Mobile Augmented Reality: Apps That Will Change the Way We See the World