Now that compass-equipped BlackBerry smartphones are gradually hitting the streets, augmented reality app developers can now start setting up shop on RIM’s handsets. Layar launched their offering on App World today, which lets you browser nearby points of interest, like restaurants, hotels, and helpful data like geo-located Wikipedia articles and tweets just by point your phone’s camera in a given direction. Layar for BlackBerry lets you share items you discover on the 2,000-odd layers of data through Facebook and Twitter, if you’re so inclined.
Layar uses GPS to figure out your location, the magnetic compass to figure out which way you’re facing, and overlays an image from the phone’s camera with data depending on what you’re looking at. With this scheme, you can find your way to restaurants, see what people are tweeting about within a certain radius, and generally enhances what you’re able to see in the world.
Wikitude, a Layar competitor in the augmented reality world, snagged the launch partnership with RIM, so I’ll be curious to see if Layar will bring enough alternative functionality to get people to switch. Layar has done a few things that set it apart, like 3D model support in their developer API, and Google Goggles-style object recognition, so they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve.
If you’re interested in giving Layar a go, it’s available in BlackBerry App World over here.