New USPS mobile app lets you send season's greetings in augmented reality

usps ar holiday app
Pokémon Go may have kick-started the augmented reality trend in smartphone games, but it’s not the only app to use the technique. The latest to join the trend? The United States Postal Service.

The USPS has just launched a new app aimed at building “excitement between senders and recipients of gifts” mailed through Priority Mail boxes. Of course, what that means is that not anyone can use the app — you’ll need to buy a Priority Mail box for a package. If you’re a sender, you’ll be able to choose between two different animated messages: a penguin with some other animal friends near an igloo, or a reindeer in Christmas lights.

“Our app adds that special touch by delivering cheer when mailing and receiving holiday gifts via Priority Mail,” USPS executive vice president James Cochrane said in a statement. “In addition to offering this entertaining app delivercheer.com allows you to buy stamps, order free boxes, schedule a free package pickup, find post office and collection box locations and determine mailing dates.”

To use the app for yourself, as mentioned, you’ll need to buy a Priority Mail box, after which you can head to delivercheer.com and scan the blue shield on the side of the package or enter your tracking number. The app, however, isn’t just geared toward the sender — the receiver will also get a slice of the fun, allowing them to take a photo or video of the package-opening experience and create a “thank you” message with an animated snowman or gingerbread man.

The USPS is set to play a pretty huge role this month. As noted in the company’s press release, it’s expecting to deliver over 16 billion cards, letters, and packages during the 2016 holiday season, including 750 million packages. That’s a hefty 12 percent increase over the 2015 holiday season.

Deals

Amazon slashes price of 2018 iPad to under $250 in time for Christmas

Whether you love Apple or prefer Android, this 2018 iPad 32GB tablet deal is rather tempting. If you're still on the hunt for gifts, then this deep discount from Amazon makes now an excellent time to pick one up.
Deals

Here are the best laptop deals for December 2018

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some holiday shopping for a special someone, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Outdoors

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.
Smart Home

Porch pirate problems? Keep them away with these tips and tricks

The holiday season is fast approaching and the packages are arriving on our doorsteps. Are you worried about porch pirates stealing your gifts this holiday season? Here are some tips to help protect your purchases.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Wearables

How to use the ECG app, set up irregular rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is the best smartwatch iPhone owners can own, and it just got even better with the addition of the ECG app and ability to identify irregular heart rhythms. Here's how to set it all up.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Mobile

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Mobile

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.