I just finished playing around with TweetReality, which is the first Augmented Reality client for Twitter. It’s an unofficial app developed by Oscar Falmer.
To be honest, I wasn’t excited seeing such an app because I knew it’s a gimmick and I won’t be using it. Nonetheless, I had to give it a try because you never know for sure until you try it and second, I need to gain experience with many types of Augmented Reality apps.
TweetReality turned out to be exactly what I expected it to be: fun for a few minutes but really not useful for quickly and efficiently managing all my twitter needs.l. I have to admit that it’s fun seeing your own tweets floating in the air in AR for the first time, but the excitement was very short lived.
The app also had some bugs, for example, I wasn’t able to perform a search and there is some misalignment of the text that hovers the image on tweets with images.
I did enjoy tapping on tweets and enlarging them. You can page through the tweets using the arrows on the side. It was inconvenient to page through the tweets using the side arrows and I the developer should have employed an endless scrolling (if it’s possible using Twitter API, not sure).
Furthermore, the app was designed only for portrait orientation, which is limiting. The tweets are spread across a wide area, which makes it inconvenient to access the buttons which are positioned on the left and right side. No doubt that the voice operation is the best way to make it work smoothly without needing to turn your head every tie you want to take an action. Furthermore, I think these type of apps would be much more convenient to use with AR glasses. The text was large and clear once you zoom in on the tweet. However, I was using the iPad and I think the readability would be worse on the iPhone.
It’s nice knowing that you are the first to develop a Twitter client for AR. I would feel proud of it myself had I develop this type of app. I also thank the developer for coming up with this idea and let use this new type of AR experience. I always learn by watching and experience other people’s work. I’ve seen this type of experience (not Twitter though) with the HoloLens. In fact, Microsoft was marketing it also as a tool that helps increase productivity. I’m pretty sure that this app could actually work well in AR once its developed for AR glasses with voice commands and other UI optimizations.
Still, I found TweetReality to be a gimmick and nothing more. I prefer reading and writing tweets in the “Standard” non-AR way. TweetReality hasn’t changed that, although I applause for the developer for developing and allowing me to get a tastes how apps like this feel in Augmented Reality.
This app reminded the holographic motion-detecting screen from the movie Minority Report (2002), starring Tom Cruise (see it on YouTube here).
I probably wouldn’t use it again anytime soon, but if you are an AR enthusiast like me, you have to give it a try, at least once. You can download the app from the App Store here.