Photosynth for Windows Phone 8 finally released

At last! Photosynth for Windows Phone 8 has been released today after being delayed for several months. This new version now includes a couple of new handy features:

- Lens integration – Quickly capture and view panoramas by launching Photosynth directly from the camera.
-Ability to view shared panoramas—New sharing capabilities let other Windows Phone 8 users view your panoramas on their phone, and as always you can show off your panoramas by email, Facebook and Twitter.
-More camera controls – Adjust for various lighting conditions by using new exposure and white balance locking options.

You can downloaded now directly from the Windows Store by hitting the link here or searching for in using Bing (not the Store search) on your Windows Phone 8 handset.

Living with Windows Phone 8 and the Nokia Lumia 920: the good and the ugly

It has been nearly two months since I’ve been using Windows Phone 8 with a Nokia Lumia 920 phone as my daily driver so I thought that now should be a good time to share my thoughts and experience about the platform and the hardware powering it. Is it good, is it bad, how does it compare to the competition? I’ll try to answer all of these questions and hopefully give you a good idea of Microsoft’s (and Nokia) uphill battle to get a nice share of the mobile industry. Follow me after the break.

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Photosynth for Windows Phone finally released

After more than a year of silence Microsoft has finally released Photosynth for Windows Phone 7. As you probably already know the iOS version came out in April of last year with a Windows Phone version set to be released soon after alongside the Mango update which finally gave access to the handset’s sensors to software developers. Things didn’t seem to be on schedule though given that there was no WP7 version of the app on sight several months after Mango’s roll out. Today’s the day though so if you have a WP7 handset nearby (that has at least 512MBof RAM) just hit the link here or scan the QRcode after the break to download the app.

Don’t worry about the message that alerts you that the app requires a Gyroscope if your device doesn’t feature one because the compass + Accelerometer should be enough to shoot nice panoramas (the gyro will help you be more precise and also enable you to shoot upwards towards the sky to make a spherical panorama).

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PhotoSynth for iOS released. Coming to Windows Phone 7 in the future

Microsoft has just announced the availability of the official Photosynth application for Apple iOS devices and the future release of a Windows Phone 7 version. Many have noticed lately that Microsoft Bing’s iOS application offers a lot more features than what is currently available on Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately Microsoft didn’t unveil any thing related to an updated Bing offering on WP7 Mango during MIX11 last week but there’s still hope that the company will surprise us in the coming months (we could clearly see during the keynote that image search is now supported).

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Microsoft Bing Maps Streeside view coming to France, UK, Germany and Spain

It is well known fact that the current iteration of Bing Maps is several lacking in terms of content outside of the US. The POI database is either out of date or really small depending on the country and many of the must-have features like StreetSide view (known as StreeView in Google Maps) and real-time Traffic are non-existent. Thankfully Microsoft with the help of Nokia’s Navteq is hard at work right now and has just launched a couple of cars in the UK to start collecting pictures and GEO data info to expand the StreeSide database:

Microsoft has already collected imagery in 56 US metro areas as well as in selected areas in Canada. In April 2011, Microsoft will begin collecting street level imagery in Europe, starting in the UK with France, Germany and Spain following soon after.

We primarily drive public roads with our initial focus on streets with businesses and points of public interest. At times, we may drive residential areas as well. As we continue to grow our street level coverage, we’ll share our plans to expand collection areas.

As of right now this feature is only available on the desktop version of Bing Maps and not in the Windows Phone 7 (the iPhone version of the Bing app does have StreeSlide though..) but one can only hope that Microsoft is currently working on implementing it on their own mobile OS and hopefully show case it during today’s MIX11 keynote.

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Microsoft’s upcoming Bing Maps Street Slide view and 3D navigation in Photosynth

If you have used Microsoft’s Bing Maps lately you are probably familiar with the Street Side feature that enables you to navigate in first person view through the street of many US cities (similar to Google’s Street View). Microsoft Research isn’t totally happy about the user experience, especially the way the users has to jump from one bubble to another when trying to navigate through a city and is now currently working on a new technology called Street Slide:

Systems such as Google Street View and Bing Maps Streetside enable users to virtually visit cities by navigating between immersive 360° panoramas, or bubbles. The discrete moves from bubble to bubble enabled in these systems do not provide a good visual sense of  a larger aggregate such as a whole city block. Multi-perspective “strip” panoramas can provide a visual summary of a city street but lack the full realism of immersive panoramas.

We present Street Slide, which combines the best aspects of the immersive nature of bubbles with the overview provided by multi-perspective strip panoramas. We demonstrate a seamless transition between bubbles and multi-perspective panoramas. We also present a dynamic construction of the panoramas which overcomes many of the limitations of previous systems. As the user slides sideways, the multi-perspective panorama is constructed and rendered dynamically to simulate either a perspective or hyper-perspective view. This provides a strong sense of parallax, which adds to the immersion. We call this form of sliding sideways while looking at a street facade a street slide. Finally we integrate annotations and a mini-map within the user interface to provide geographic information as well additional affordances for navigation. We demonstrate our Street Slide system on a series of intersecting streets in an urban setting. We report the results of a user study, which shows that visual searching is greatly enhanced with the Street Slide interface over existing systems from Google and Bing.

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