Layar aims big – plans to be on 1 in 3 smartphones released this year

The augmented reality app maker Layar has some mighty large ambitions, as the company just announced on its blog that it will be preloaded on a third of the world’s new smartphone this year.

With pride Layar announced that LG, the worlds #3 mobile phone manufacturer will pre-load Layar on new Android devices. In addition, Samsung expanded the existing relationship with support for Layar on the bada platform. A Tier 1 Chinese handset manufacturer has also signed a global distribution deal to pre-load Layar, along with TCT Mobile (Alcatel). These four partnerships ensure Layar will be pre-loaded on 1 in 3 new smartphones sold worldwide this year, and more global distribution partnerships will be announced in the coming months.

What’s the big whoop about augmented reality? Well, beyond just being super cool, AR apps have the potential to meld our digital and real worlds. This could be for something as trival as a Quiznos sandwich but successfully using these types of apps in the wild are an incredibly satisfying experience.

These types of partnerships should help the AR company monetize and in the long run, content and advertising could make it a solid company. Think about how much more powerful a location-relevant ad would be than just a random banner ad in an app. Brightkite is probably in the lead with AR ads but look for this space to heat up.

I still think the biggest player in the AR space will be Google with its Google Goggles app. This program is often classified as a visual search engine but I think it will be so much more than that in the near future. Google has already shown it’s willing to buy companies just to boost Goggles and it has previously said it will make this a platform for third parties to build upon in the future.

No matter who comes out on top, the future of AR looks pretty darn bright.

[Via Layar blog]

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