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Intel Releases Own Mobile-Messaging App Pocket Avatars

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Yes, you read that right. Intel, the biggest name in semiconductor chip manufacturing, recently launched their own messaging service application Pocket Avatars Thursday. This is the CPU chip giant?s first venture to mobile chat messaging.

In the already congested industry of mobile app messaging, blending in is no walk in the park. Mike Bell, general manager of Intel?s New Devices Group, mentioned that ?this isn?t a one-off, this isn?t a publicity stunt, this is something we?re serious about.? Earlier this year, Facebook announced their acquisition of mobile chat and messaging software WhatsApp worth $19 billion. Other big names in mobile chat and messaging include Microsoft?s Skype, Snapchat, and Tango. ?Some of the evaluations of those companies? it?s not a joke,? Bell added during the launch event.

Intel, a brand not easily associated with software, obviously wants a share of the mobile chat market. About 20 trillion over-the-top messages?messages sent through chat software?will be sent this year, Bell said. ?People just don?t know how much software we actually do that?s in the devices you carry that are based on Intel chips,? Bell added.

Apart from all the standard messaging services, Pocket Avatars developers put facial-tracking software and repackaged it into the messaging app. Users can use their smartphone?s front camera and microphone to record one?s voice, blinks, facial expressions, and head movements to reconstruct them as an avatar, such as a blowfish or a devil. The recordings are then processed through an algorithm and recreated to the avatar itself. After a recording of up to 15 seconds, the user can send or share the avatar through text, email, or other social media.

Bell also explicitly mentioned that they are not using the app to gather information to sell. ?We are not storing databases with people?s faces,? he said. ?We?re not selling ads or information. This is about social messaging, using an animated avatar. It?s not mining.?

Intel also associated their app with other popular brands such as Lego, Gumby and Pokey, and the Annoying Orange on which users can use more than 40 different avatars. While Pockets Avatar app itself is a free download, users can buy some avatars at $.99 each while others come free of charge and they will continually add more features and avatars as the app evolves.

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