Nokia's Point & Find Gives New Life To The Camera Phone

At its CTIA booth Nokia showed a new camera phone application that will allow users to get information about object by taking its picture. Point & Find is a downloadable app that uses real-time image processing and recognition technologies to access information related to books, movies, DVDs and similar media content.

Point & Find with the Nokia N95

Though Nokia officially unveiled Point & Find back in San Francisco at the Web 2.0 conference, I got see a demonstration in Las Vegas. The Nokia rep pointed an N95 at a poster for the movie Ice Age 3 and snapped a photo. Within seconds we were able to watch a trailer and get information about the flick. As Ice Age 3 won’t be in theaters until this summer we weren’t able to get read reviews or get local show times, but Point & Find promises such capability for current films.

Beyond media content, Point & Find also can read bar codes, and it will support GPS data and text-entry search. Though Point & Find is primarily a consumer application, companies will be able to use the technology to market specific products.

Once downloaded, Point & Find and the related content sit directly on the phone so there’s no need to connect back to a server to access content for most objects. Nokia says it will offer frequent updates to keep the database current, though we imagine that not everything in the world will be captured.

During our demo, Point & Find appeared to be intuitive and responsive. Since it’s not an NFC technology there’s no need to capture a specific bar code-like image on the movie poster. As long as you can frame most of the poster, you should be good to go.

For now Point & Find is available on the Nokia N95 and Nokia N95 8GB phones, though Nokia says more supported handsets are on the way. On the upside, the initial download and updates are free to consumers.

Kent German is a senior editor for cell phone reviews at CNET.

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