Intel releases ‘Pocket Avatars’ mobile chat app for Android, iOS

After launching hybrid PC range combining both Android and Windows, Intel has now released a social app for Android and iOS named Pocket Avatars. The smartphone app uses facial tracking technology to relay a sender’s expressions and offers video-like mobile messaging.

The app uses smartphone’s camera and microphone to record a short message while combines your voice and expressions with several cartoon characters including Lego figures, Care Bears, Annoying Orange and Gumby. Out of these, half characters can be purchased in-app for USD 0.99 each while others are available for free. Then, the message is sent to recipient, who can play it, complete with the avatar’s head movements, smiles and blinks.

Intel had made investment in 26 companies including USD 700,000 in Medopad and USD 740 million in Cloudera in 2014. Also, it had acquired 56 companies such as Basis Science, Hacker League, KNO, Sensory Networks, Indisys and others. 

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Times of India says: Pocket Avatars was launched on Thursday by Mike Bell, an Intel senior executive, who described the app, which is free on Android smartphones and iPhones, as a way to demonstrate facial tracking technology that could appear on future Intel platforms such as laptops or tablets.

“Rather than let it sit in a lab and languish, we thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool to show people,'” Bell said of the technology. “It’s fun and easy to explain what it does, but it’s actually pretty complex behind the scenes.”

Intel’s core market, the PC industry, is languishing and the chipmaker is far behind rivals such as Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm in mobile chips.

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The Next Web says: While the app might seem outside of Intel’s main business efforts, Bell said the company has “every intention to keep this going and improve upon it.” With messaging apps attracting billion-dollar valuations, it’s not out of the question that this could become a substantial revenue generator.

“My group is chartered with getting Intel into non-traditional lines of business,” Bell noted. “We said, ‘Okay, everybody’s rushing out there to do the same sort of [messaging] thing. Let’s take the technology we have and have more fun.’”

“People who have sent me messages are more relaxed,” he said. “It’s not like a video chat where people are worried how they look. It doesn’t require you to show yourself or your background or where you are, but it allows you to take on this alternate persona.”

To contact the author, email at sujata@iamwire.com

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