Mobile augmented reality becomes growing sector

A new Juniper Research report on the mobile augmented reality (AR) market documents the increasing number of brands, retailers and mobile vendors investing in mobile AR apps and services. Juniper predicts that global revenues are expected to approach $1.5 billion by 2015 in this sector.

The installed base of AR-capable smart phones has increased dramatically, from 8 million in 2009 to more than 100 million in 2010. Meanwhile, AR apps have begun to evolve away from their experimental and niche development by technology institutes and edgy development companies and are entertaining the mainstream.

Evidence that augmented reality is beginning to become more widespread includes Qualcomm's release of an AR-software development kit for Android and Samsung's move to preload AR browsers onto several handsets in selected markets. Major brands, including Carlsberg, eBay and Coca Cola, have also launched mobile advertising campaigns with AR components.

Nonetheless, because AR is still at an early stage of usage, says Juniper Research, both developers and consumers are not yet convinced that AR apps are anything more than gimmicks or work reliably to retain consumers.