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December 10, 2009


Björn S

I think you are missing one thing that makes the mobile unique as a mass medium and that is positioning. You can of cause agree that you know a great deal about the user’s position when he uses internet from home or when he is reading his morning paper but it's more relevant if you are out and about. The position is of cause used in other areas of mobile, like augmented reality but still I think it's important enough to stand on its own =)

Thanks for an excellent blog!
/Björn S

Christopher Billich


Interesting post. Agree with regard to the 8th benefit -- what may be worth looking into to complete the picture (since you often quote things like where the first ringtone was sold, where the first cameraphone appeared etc.) is: what was the first commercially available AR application on mobile -- any idea? I'm not sure -- the oldest I can remember is Geovector, which launched on a few au KDDI handsets in early 2006. That's a long time before things like Wikitude and Layar, but my gut feeling is there must have been something further back than that.



Offering a definition of augmented reality's mobile characteristic:

Mobile offers the ability to intertwine virtual experiences on top of the natural world using the mobile's camera and a connection to a service or dataset which exists online. This intertwined experience enables a personal window into commerical and communial informatoin structures for the purpose of entertainment, infotainment, or general navigation. This characteristic might be further accented with the mobile's positioning technologies, creating additional avenues for intertwined, integrated, and engaged experiences.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Bjorn, Christopher and ARJ

Thank you all for writing. I will respond to each individually

Bjorn - good point, and I hear it a lot. Note that this is not about unique things about mobile phones, this is about mobile as a mass medium. We have plenty of abilities to track the accuracy of media consumption on older media. On TV or radio (broadcast, not cable) we can't have any location info on our audience. But on cinema we get perfect location. So location as such is not the unique aspect for media consumption. One could very well argue that it is very easy to do location-positioning on the IP address to reasonable degree if wanted, on the internet. Our desktop PCs rarely walk around the home much (yet haha) and our laptops tend to hook up via WiFi networks that could potentially be relatively easily mapped and would have 'cell site' radiuses far smaller than cellular. But yes, as cinema already had perfect location - movie theaters don't wander around haha - location was not a unique aspect to mobile as 7th of the mass media. But good point, it is still a powerful element to deliver some apps and services, especially in the enterprise/commercial world of employee tracking, vehicle tracking, package tracking, asset tracking etc. Not so much actual business out of location in the consumer space though haha..

Christopher - thanks, yeah, great question. The first I talked about was the Ford ad in Europe on AR almost exactly a year ago. But I met a mobile ad specialist who said they had deployed a similar AR solution in Australia a year earlier, so its around 2007 as to my best understanding when the first consumer AR solution was deployed on cameraphones.. Sorry can't remember the ad now..

ARJ - great comment as always, thanks and yes a good definition.

Thank you all for comments

Tomi Ahonen :-)

C. Enrique Ortiz

"8th unique ability - only mobile can offer augmented reality"

Why? AR should not be unique to mobile and should be big as well on the desktop and game consoles with a camera...

Why do you believe it is unique to mobile?


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That's a long time before things like Wikitude and Layar, but my gut feeling is there must have been something further back than that.


hat's a long time before things like Wikitude and Layar, but my gut feeling is there must have been something further back than that.

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Thanks for this post! who have since also written a book together, Social Media Marketing, where they discuss this aspect as well. The 7th benefit is that only mobile captures the social context of our media consumption.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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