Camera Phones and GeoVector's Mobile Patent

San Francisco-based GeoVector is a company doing lots of interesting things in mobile -- most of them in Asia -- with "point and search" technology that leverages ubiquitous camera phones. The company just announced a new patent:

US Patent 7301536 better enables mobile phones or other devices to display stored digital images which are linked to real-world objects or places.

"Imagine pointing a mobile device down a city street and seeing a digital image of how that street looked a century ago, or might look a century from now. Imagine pointing at a new car billboard and seeing the car in any color you want, then downloading a video clip," explained John Ellenby, GeoVector's CEO. "GeoVector's technology enables countless possibilities for entertainment, advertising or e-commerce applications."

GeoVector currently enables mobile devices to access data on points of interest using a unique combination of GPS and a built-in compass. The new patent builds upon that capability, allowing users to interact with stored images based on their surroundings.

The company currently provides products and services which significantly simplify local searches, allowing users to point their mobile device toward objects of interest to access information about them. Users can "point and click" with their mobile phone the way a computer user navigates using a mouse.

Other companies in this segment include NeoMedia, Mobot, SnapTell and, soon, others. This next year will be one where this technology starts to make its appearance in North America. We'll see how consumers respond, but there are lots of interesting applications.

In addition, mobile phones are emerging as a way to bridge the digital and real worlds for consumers and as a tracking mechanism for advertisers.