Augmented Reality: the next big thing in mobile?

They’ve been talking about it for a while, but the first augmented reality apps are starting to appear.

The concept of augmented reality is this: you point your camera phone at something on the street, and an overlay pops up with more information. An obvious example would be a historical building, where the AR app would overlay useful information.

Its a clever use of location services, mobile camera, image recognition etc. The first app that I saw was an Android one for Amsterdam. The latest one to grab the imagination is an iphone app that shows you the nearest Tubes:

The potential from a mobile marketing point of view is massive. Point your camera at a shop and it will list the latest offers, or send you a voucher. Point it down the street and it will tell you the nearest bar, cafe, cinema, bus station etc.

As with all technology though, it remains to be seen whether users actually want it. Reality, afterall, is real enough. Why do we want it augmented?

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