Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Audi UK creates universal app for Le Mans 2011

Serious auto racing fans have a soft spot in their hearts for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race that has been taking place outside the small French town since 1923.
I, on the other hand, have a soft spot in my heart for tablet app made by car companies. Why? Because their huge marketing budgets mean that their developers can spend a fortune coming up with a state-of-the-art app.

One of the first such apps was Volkswagen Das, created by Readershouse Brand Media which this site looked at one year ago when it was first released. Coincidentally, a newly updated app has been released just yesterday.

In November the Audi A8 got its own app from Factory Design Labs. Using all the tools at its disposal, the developer created an app that weighed in at 611 MB. The last update, made in April, brings it up to 629 MB.

Many other auto maker apps have followed, many from the regional divisions. Today Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited has released a new app called Audi UK's guide to Le Mans 2011, and like many of the apps this one has a lot of interesting things going for it – and, since it is free, it can be downloaded by publishers and designers looking for inspiration.

The free app for the race which takes place June 11-12, offers video content, car photos, an interactive map of the course, and the use of augmented reality which I found to be a bit underwhelming. (The augmented reality works on iOS devices with cameras, meaning no AR on an original iPad.)

This app is a bit large, as well, though 298 MB is not too bad. Nonetheless I quickly deleted the app from my iPhone after testing out the augmented reality feature. This app is definitely better on the larger display of the iPad.