Motorola is taking the next step by combining MySpace-style social networking with your cell phone’s camera and display. The idea is that you’ll be able to snap a picture of, say, a neighborhood bar counter with your cell phone and send it to Motorola’s service (called MARMS, for Mobile Augmented Reality Messaging System). Your cell phone will add information about where the phone is and in what direction it is pointed. MARMS will send back your bar-scene photo with new, computer-generated objects pasted into it. For example, a foaming beer stein could appear sitting on the counter (as depicted in the simulated image to the left), or a brightly colored banner might materialize over the jukebox.
These objects are visual references to notes left during some earlier visit to that bar by members of your online social network. Clicking on the beer stein could call up a note recommending a particular microbrew—or a warning about bad service. The jukebox banner might be tied to video from a friend’s party. You could then continue the process, adding an object to the scene and linking it to a note of your own creation. In essence, MARMS turns a cell phone into a mobile window on a virtual world filled with a rich collection of location-specific comments, video clips, and more. Motorola believes a basic version of the cell phone camera system could be available as soon as 2010.