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Märklin introduced in late autumn 2015 the "Märklin AR" app.
And - I am sorry to say - in typical Märklin style they don't market it. Tro to visit www.maerklin.de ➚ and see how quickly you can find the new "Märklin AR" app.
However it is marketed in the "Märklin Magzin" and the "Märklin Insider Club News" and in the printed catalogues - but why not on their main website ??
But - the "Märklin AR" app is actually something quite innovative and funny.
It is the "Märklin Marketing" under Jörg Iske that has come up with this idea.
I must admit that I am not really sure what to think of the "Märklin AR".
It is no doubt funny that you can use image-recognition to "push" further information to the customer and it is no doubt a good thing - with smart-phones taking over the role of many of the tasks that the computer use to do - that you can add a further dimension to the printed cataloque with your smart-phone.
I found that it works better with a tablet / iPad than with a smart-phone. The smart phone screen is simply to small to really enjoy the features and - as with smart phone screens - it can be hard to put your finger at the right spot.
When would you use the "Märklin AR" app ?
This is perhaps where I am at a loss. The app uses image recognition locked to the images in the printed catalogue / the pdf-version. So you hold your tablet / smart phone over the image in the printed catalogue or the pdf-version on your computer screen.
But if you see the image from a pdf on your computer you could just-as-well just see this information on a website.
So if you use the image from the printed cataloque you would typically be at home - and then you could go online to see the website.
So I presume that the "Märklin AR" app would be mostly used in the stores, where you would be able to see a model "in motion" and with sound before the store actually got the model from Märklin.
I also found that holding the smart-phone / tablet onto the image can be tiring in the long run. There should be some kind of "image-storing" in the app so once you caught the image you could continue viewing without having to keep focussing on the image.
So final verdict :
I somehow have the feeling that the "Märklin AR" app is typical of the times that we live in but that it also can be evolved into something more and better.
Many of the things that makes a Märklin product don't come through on the small smart phone screen. It is better on the tablet but it really comes to live on a computer screen.
I would like to think that Märklin would make "live" catalogues - a mix between the "Märklin AR" app and the "New Items" pdf-file.
So ... any journey begins with the single first step.