Google has released Spotlight Stories, an app that features immersive 360-degree films developed by Motorola before its 2011 acquisition, to iOS. The app has been available on Android for almost two years.
The app is solely intended for entertainment, offering users 3D animations with sound sphere audio and "sensor fusion technology," basically meaning that users can move their phone around to change the perspective inside the animated content. To do this, the phone uses things like the gyroscope and accelerometer.
"Engineers and critically-acclaimed filmmakers are bringing stories to life using the latest advances in mobile technology," says the description for the new app. "Using 3D and 2D animation, 360° spherical cinema-quality video, sound sphere audio, and sensor fusion techniques, the screen is now a window into a story that unfolds all around you. Look anywhere, follow individual characters, watch it over again and again. It's a little different each time. Google Spotlight Stories is your mobile movie theater."
One of the first movies to be featured by Google in the Spotlight Series was called Windy Day, which was developed by ex-Pixar filmmakers and debuted on the original Motorola Moto X phone. This movie, as well as the rest of the Spotlight Stories catalog, will be available in the new iOS app, however, currently, there are four stories available, including Buggy Night, Help, Duet and Windy Day. Help was directed by Justin Lin, who also directed a number of the Fast & Furious films. What's interesting is the fact that this movie is labeled as "free for a limited time," suggesting that Google might be planning on selling the film in the future.
The technology behind the app was originally developed by Motorola's Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) division, however, after Motorola was sold by Google to Lenovo, Google continued the development of it. Because of the fact that the technology was originally developed for Motorola smartphones, it did not support a wide variety of Android devices once Google took over. Some of the limitations with the technology continue today, with the Google Play Store still saying that the app is not compatible with all devices despite a widespread launch by Google in May. Google is also planning on bringing the short movies to YouTube at some point in the near future.
Of course, Google has put in the effort to develop the technology for iOS, with the new iOS app working on iPhones running iOS 8 or above. The app can be downloaded here.