Augmented reality is awesome, when it works. Layar is a new application, by SPRXmobile, that was unveiled today and will be in the Android Marketplace soon enough. It claims to be the world’s first “mobile augmented reality browser” and it wasn’t until I watched the video above that I understood exactly what that meant. While there are various applications out there that will show you which restaurants are near, where historical landmarks are, and where your friends may be, there hasn’t been an application created that will let other people and companies add their data.
What if my friend went to Amsterdam for the weekend and wanted to share with me 10 locations I absolutely have to visit? With Layar, the possibility exists for her to simply mark those points on the map and share her Layar (read: pun on the word Layer) with me; same applies for companies. ING partnered with Layar to show all the available ATMs, Funda is showing available real estate, Zekur is showing where the doctors are, and several other companies are also providing their data.
Sadly this only works in the Netherlands for now, no word on when it will work elsewhere, but I’m genuinely impressed and can’t wait to see this application on the iPhone, S60 and eventually become browser based since mobile browsers will soon have access to the GPS capabilities inside mobile devices. In an ideal world, all companies would have location based information saved in open formats that any mapping application could read, but we don’t live in an ideal world now do we? Layar is making mobile AR a reality today, whether or not it will be a viable player in the coming years is something only time will answer.
Screenshots after the jump.