Worlds First Mobile Augmented Reality browser

Now this is good news for Real Estate persons, and great news for buyers too.

The above headline is being made by Layar this week, and they’ve been getting some attention in the last few days because of their software. Regular readers may remember my previous posts on situation awareness and location awareness.

What is this Layar then?

I’ll let them, Layar, (by SPRXmobile) explain.

Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.

Layar is available for the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and other Android phones in Android Market for the Netherlands. Other countries will be added later. Planned roll-out dates for other countries  are not known yet.

So hows does that work?

This is reality.

This is AR, or Augmented Reality.

Well lets say you’re new to a town, and set out on a scouting mission.

You arrive at the highest part of the town, and glancing around you notice that particularly attractive small  seaside suburb “over there.”

Now sure you can use your mobile to take a pic or video or even utilizing its built-in GPS be location aware, perhaps with a bit of help from something like Google Maps.

But what say as you pan an area with your mobile phone, bits of info, in our example case as you pan across Canal Lane,………

……up pops a photo onto your mobile that informs you there is a home for sale “down there” on that street in your view at no. 18, and then in an info screen at the bottom tells you some more basic details about it, plus its real easy to request further info/data.

Here’s the first paragraph from their 16th June Press Release that hints at other uses for this addition to location awareness.

AMSTERDAM, Tuesday June 16th, 2009. Mobile innovation company SPRXmobile launches Layar, worlds first mobile Augmented Reality browser, which displays real time digital information on top of reality (of) in the camera screen of the mobile phone. While looking through the phone’s camera lens, a user can see houses for sale, popular bars and shops, jobs, healthcare providers and ATMs. The first country to launch Layar is The Netherlands. Launching partners are local market leaders ING (bank), funda (realty website), Hyves (social network), Tempo-team (temp agency) and Zekur.nl (healthcare provider).

Sounds promising for Real Estate use I’d say. Likewise I could imagine a new town resident looking for some temporary accommodation would find this beneficial too.

Wouldn’t you believe it, just as I am finishing writing about this, up pops this, another player on the scene, a bit out of left field but at least another glance at the possiblities for this technology. Even a version here to replace your car GPS that actually looks even better, and its on an iPhone. Actually seems there’s a few out there.

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