Call us cheesy, but the video below is just adorable.
Hallmark, manufacturers of fine greeting cards and pointlessly sentimental holdiays, have launched augmented reality (AR) greeting cards. Like some of the prototypes we've played around with, the whole affair involves a little real-world hardware (in this case a webcam and a Hallmark card) and a little AR magic. The cards come to life with animation and sound, and the recipient is presumably swept off his or her geeky little feet.
Augmented reality is a term to describe the layering of digital content over real-world objects and images. It's come into vogue over the past year or two with certain advances in image recognition, 3D video rendering and smartphone software.
Hallmark's cards, called "webcam greetings" so as not to alarm the less technically savvy, will appear as an initial batch of ten for the saccharine love-fest on February 14. Additional greetings will be rolled out throughout the year.
The lucky recipients of these AR greeting cards will have to go to Hallmark's website and follow a few directions using their webcam to view their animated song-and-dance. Project manager Monic Muldrew stated, "As Hallmark embarks upon our next 100 years in business, it's important to continually identify new ways to help amplify the emotions our consumers feel when experiencing and sharing our products. With the experience available through these cards that come to life with a webcam, we hope consumers will fully explore and interact with this fun new way to connect."
If Hallmark can demonstrate and market these cards correctly, they could help bring AR to the masses - all while turning a decent profit, as well. Most of the AR cards will retail for $2.99. Some will include a sound clip that plays when the recipient opens the card without going online. These deluxe bells-and-whistles editions will sell for $5.99. The entire line of AR cards will be available wherever Hallmark cards are sold.
What do you think: Are augmented reality greeting cards simply a gimmick, destined to be Hallmark's equivalent of Crystal Pepsi? Or do you think the traditional company's forward-looking direction will help it adapt and financially prosper in changing - and increasingly digital - times? Let us know your opinions in the comments.
We love AR tech at RWW - why not check out some of the goodies in our Augmented Reality Archives?