It's been one year since the launch of ARKick, the Augmented Reality app for BlackBerry 10. One year after it's release we see version 2.0 drop and it comes with a nice list of changes. In CrackBerry fashion we're going hands on to check out the new UI and new Virtual Locations feature.
One of the main things that has been updated in ARKick 2.0 is the UI. When you first launch the app instead of just having two options at the bottom for Browser Mode and Sidekick Mode, you are defaulted to a Home tab where you are presented with a handful of search options like coffee, shopping, sights, nightlife etc. This makes it quicker and easier for you to search the popular types of venue. Browser Mode is still an option along the bottom bar, so you can search for other types of categories, though it's now called List. Sidekick mode is found on the Home tab just above the bottom bar. Sidekick mode basically displays all types of locations without filtering.
When venues have been loaded up, you can see how many miles each one is from your location. You can tap into any one of them to get more information, such as how long it will take to get there and whether or not it is open.
Another new feature in v2.0 is Virtual Locations. This allows you to go to any place in the world, you can even choose a date and time for the virtual visit too. You can view the place on a map or go into satellite mode. There's even a street view mode too, which uses Google maps. I found the Virtual Locations feature to be a bit spotty during my usage. I found that I would always end up swiping back when trying to move around the map, it becomes quite annoying in the end. The street view didn't always work either due to the same issue. I try to drag the little yellow man and the page wants to go back. When you get it to work, it's great. I do like the idea of Virtual Locations, though it really is pretty much Google Street view.
As I mentioned earlier, Browser Mode is still there, this mode loads up around 200 categories for you to search beyond the default ones found on the Home tab. So, instead of searching for general food venues, you can be more specific and search for Italian food, etc. There's even the ability to search multiple categories in one search too, Just tap and hold on one category, then tap the tick and select any other options. You can even search for ATM machines when you need to take out some cash.
All in all it's a good update. My only gripe is when in map view and I want to move the map to the right, it tends to swipe back out of map view making me want to give up using it. It also eats up the battery quite a bit. But when everything runs smoothly, it's a neat little experience.
ARKick is available for all BlackBerry 10 smartphones and costs $2.99 but of course, if you already have ARKick, the update is free. One thing to note is that the Virtual Locations feature does cost extra - $0.99. Check out the video above for a quick hands-on.
Also, ReFocus Tech is offering over 500 copies of their paid apps for free via promo codes. The promo codes will be announced on ReFocus Tech's new BBM channel (C004D92DA) and if the new BBM Channel hits over 5000 subscribers during the course of the giveaway, ReFocus has promised to give out promo codes for their next (unreleased) app directly on the apps launch day.
The promotion will continue throughout the course of the week, and codes will be distributed periodically and during different times of the day, to ensure a global reach. The last date of redemption is 25th August, 2014. So, check out their channel and you may win yourself a free copy of ARKick or their next exciting app.