Layar: Augmented Reality Browser For Android


We’ve seen this CONCEPT before but this will be the first application of its kind to find its way on the Android Market… or any Market/Store/Catalog/World as far as I know. A company called SPRXmobile has developed a product called Layar that uses your phone’s camera as a viewfinder, showing you information real-time about the objects you are pointing towards:

You know what I think when I see this? What the heck happened to ENKIN?!?!?? The company FLEW onto the Android scene WAY before the first Android Phone had even launched and looking at the video below, you can see they promised a very similar service:

I’m sure ENKIN wasn’t the only company working on something like this. I think these types of Applications will become more prevalent. If you think about it, Google Skymap is a kind of Augmented Reality Browser too… but it is focused on stars:

Most recently, Thomas Ricker from Engadget (via IntoMobile) took some time with the creators of Layar and got a demonstration. The demo is kind of… not misleading…. just not as cool because it takes place in a living room while they’re trying to locate objects out in public.

I’ll be excited when this hits Android Market although I think it may be a little more practical to just use Google Maps and/or Places to find this kind of stuff. Very cool though and I think if an application used this to primarily help tourists find landmarks and tell them more about it… THAT would be sweet.

Hopefully we’ll see this hit Android Market soon!

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. It’s not the first – Wikitude has been around for quite a while.

  2. True, and Wikitude is great, but this one looks so much smoother and more useful. Wikitude is like an AR encyclopedia whereas Layar looks like what it says, an AR browser.

    Hell, you can have both apps :)

  3. As a concept I’d never actually considered that. That sort of handheld HUD type thing. My mind has literally just been blown by the possibilities.

  4. looks really really good. not all we need is more big name players to partner the apps so we can have more layers to use. and make it available in a lot more places.

  5. rob, there is another one about this augmented reality, its called “seer”. apparently its made by IBM for the 2009 Wimbledon Open.

  6. It is already in Market, but maybe only in The Netherlands since that’s the only place it’s got layers for. Although Hyves is worldwide.

    The difference between this and the others that people mentioned is that it’s generic and it’s easy to add a layer for any data that has coordinates. Sky Map and Wikitude are specific to a particular data set.

  7. “Sky Map and Wikitude are specific to a particular data set”.

    And Layar is specific to one country. If you’ve ever used Wikitude, you’ll realise that there is only so much data you can display on the screen. In my mind, this is just a Wikitude copy with a broader data set – one which they will be forced to narrow in order for people to see past the ‘noise’. But then it will just be Wikitude!
    Don’t get me wrong, this looks to be an excellent app. Just don’t go toting it as ‘the first of its kind’ as it is not – by a long way. And unless you are Dutch, it is not even one of many, let alone one of a kind!

  8. Awesome technology. Layar can definitely help businesses make money.

  9. Well Wikitude has open subscription – so quality of whats there may plumet but “aunt bessiess favourit picnic spot” may well be available to the world should they point a picture at it. They have an undertaking on thier site to a creative commons type content ownership.

    Layer however takes corporate feeds so aunt bessies picnic spot “ABPS” might be labeled “Real estate available for sale from British land consortium, contact… ”

    Three considerations

    User costs…
    Its adictive to post to wikitude and both it and Layer could potentially cost you a fortune in data charges both uploading and downloading.

    Data maintenance
    In twenty five years time what happens when “ABPS” has become world bank HQ, iconic victim of subsidance due to global warming and then a municipal bike park?

    If you can interface these AR services with facebook-bebo-blogger-twitter – flickr – myspace -wertago -gmob365 – locle etc ( or supplant them) will they be a killer app or an invasion of privacy, a free social marketing tool or potential business wrecker if you give bad service – Could a dominant consortium lobby to become a public utility ? IN UK will BBC take a share in move to gently preserve “public order and decorum”?

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