Back in mid-2010, Qualcomm launched a rather cool new product: a free development framework for building vision-based Augmented Reality applications on Android. (Geek-speak translator: watch the video above — it lets developers build things like that for Android without having to do all the insanely-complicated image recognition stuff themselves). Shortly thereafter, they announced that they were tying it into the (rather awesome) rapid game development suite, Unity. All the while, it roamed the dev-lands with a Beta tag.
This morning, they’re dropping the Beta tag and officially releasing the platform. While that may not mean a lot to most immediately, it’s good news for anyone who’s built something on the platform: as of this morning, they’re free to market and release their AR apps as they see fit.
You can find more info on their AR platform here.
(Interesting factoid: Qualcomm distributes and licenses this framework for free. Why? Because it’s pretty processor intensive. If people want these games, they’ll need pretty fast phones — and they just happen to supply the components tucked inside most of the faster phones out there. Whether that really works out in their favor or not, it sounds like a totally clever way to justify making something nifty for free.)