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Home / Tips and Tricks / Spatial Launches Tele iPhone App for Casual Avatar-Based Chats in Augmented Reality «Next Reality

Spatial Launches Tele iPhone App for Casual Avatar-Based Chats in Augmented Reality «Next Reality

The Spatial team is not finished innovating augmented reality in 2020.

Just days after adding a mobile option to its groundbreaking Spatial virtual collaboration product, the company is releasing Tele, a new app aimed at more casual, AR-powered video chat.

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The Tele app uses the same simple avatar creation process as Spatial, which allows you to take an existing face photo on your phone and wrap it around an avatar. You can also just take a selfie and use that photo for your avatar.

Once the creation process is complete (takes about a minute to process) and you anchor it to your face using the app̵

7;s targeting framework, you suddenly have an avatar with a body (waist only) with a moving mouth that matches the audio coming from your end of the phone.

Images via Spatial

The effect is perfect for friends who want to feel like they are video chatting in each other’s homes. Of course, with the increase in video chat, some may wonder what the use case is for this app. From my point of view, it’s simple: video chat fatigue. It’s one thing to have an occasional video chat before a big meeting, but by 2020, many of us will have learned what it’s like to have video conferencing fatigue.

Putting your computer in the right angle, fixing your hair and / or make-up, making sure that the lighting is right … nowadays a video chat (if you do it right) is like a mini TV production. That can get tiring after a while, especially if the virtual meeting is not business and is just an informal conversation if you’d rather not set up your mini-studio. With Tele you get the advantage of seeing someone’s ‘face’ while also working with them in AR in a real environment. Think of it as a small step towards those kinds of holographic sci-fi messages and conversations you’ve seen in movies Star Wars.

My only complaint so far is how the app forces you to give access to your contacts. This is a major annoyance of mine, especially with new apps and companies still building a track record of being able to be trusted with your data. In the case of Spatial, being familiar with the team, I’m pretty comfortable giving access to my smartphone’s contacts, but an opt-in option would have been much better. As it stands now, if you don’t allow access to your contacts, you just can’t use the app. (I realize this has been the trend with new apps for years and has become common practice, but I still don’t like it.)

But back to why I love this app. Purely strategic, what Spatial is doing here is incredibly smart. The primary Spatial app is clearly aimed at business customers, but why should all that development work be used “only” for business users. Tele allows casual social media users to take part in some of Spatial’s AR development without any learning curve in terms of using the app.

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