TAT, also known by its longer name "The Astonishing Tribe," is a mobile design and development firm best known among consumers for its forthcoming augmented reality application known as "Recognizr." The app (see previous coverage) is able to "see" a person's face though a smartphone's camera and then use facial recognition algorithms to identify them and serve up related information like recent status updates, Tweets and a LinkedIn bio, for example.
Unfortunately, we have some bad news about that ground-breaking app: it's been killed. However, we have other exciting news that may lessen the blow.
It appears that TAT has been developing some pretty amazing Android homescreen replacements, widgets, live wallpapers and other interfaces which you have to see to believe. Even better, it already has a carrier deal in place to ship some its designs next year.
Recognizr Dies, but TAT's Android UI's Live On
Sadly, the incredible augmented reality/facial recognition application known as Recognizr will not be launched as planned. The app was one of TAT's only consumer-facing efforts and it relied on the facial recognition algorithms from a company called Polar Rose. When Apple acquired Polar Rose in September, the move effectively killed the Android application in turn. (We noticed in August, for example, that it had missed its promised launch date.) At this point, Recognizr won't launch unless another facial recognition company comes to TAT, looking to partner.
TAT may not have crossed your radar until you read about the Recognizr app, but the company has developed a number of smartphone interfaces which you have probably already used, without even knowing it. The company is just not able to talk about those designs due to its agreements with the handset makers and carriers it works with who ship the user interfaces as their own. In fact, I discovered that one of my favorite somethings on a such-and-such device I have in my possession was actually designed by TAT! Sorry to be vague, but that's how it goes.
I was able to catch up with the company at this week's Open Mobile Summit and they gave me a glimpse of some of the designs they have in the works. Below are a few quick videos I shot of the new user interfaces in action. (You can visit TAT's homepage for more professional versions, I just used my iPhone).
Although there aren't specifics to reveal at this time, the "TAT Home" collection of 3D homescreens (you may remember seeing these around the Web earlier this year, for example, on Engadget), is shipping on some Android devices "sometime next year." The devices are on a European carrier, TAT co-founder Paul Blomdahl told me. Discussions with other device manufacturers and carriers are happening now too.
While the homescreen widgets are impressive, I'm personally more fond of the 3D contacts list and mapping application myself, but there are no official deals involving these interfaces yet. (Will someone please change that?)
Android Homescreen Widgets
As described above, these are TAT's Android homescreen replacements which include its own 3D widgets for things like Weather and music.
2D to 3D Maps
TAT has designed a mapping application which goes from 2D mode to 3D mode just by tilting the phone.
2D to 3D Contacts
This contacts application goes from 2D to 3D mode, like the maps one above does, by tilting the phone. In 3D mode, status updates, Tweets and other information hovers above a contact's name. (Sorry I filmed this vertically, video is clearly not my forté).
TAT Live Wallpapers
TAT's live wallpapers also employ the use of Android's accelerometer as you can see in the video below. When you tilt the phone, the trees sway, for example. Other elements on the screen are interactive and respond to touches.