Layar Player lets AR loose on iPhone apps

Layar's been the go-to platform for augmented reality on Android since 2009, bringing you the useful, the creepy, and the just plain weird -- and now it's unleashing the beast on iOS, again (it's already available as a dedicated app). The Netherlands-based company just launched Layar Player, a free tool that allows anyone -- with a little developer know-how -- to create their very own AR iPhone app. Accompanying the announcement are three brand new Layar Player-enabled apps: the Bing-sponsored Snowboard Hero, which incorporates a special AR mode for collecting points; a contractor locator called Layer Trade; and VerbeterdeBuurt, an app that acts as an AR community bulletin board. The company's press release touts the "democratization of augmented reality," and while we can get behind their AR-for-alll message, we've already seen Layar used in ways that give us the willies. Don't get us wrong, we're still excited about the endless AR possibilities, but we're hoping, at least for now, that iPhone app developers can keep the AR monsters at bay.

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Layar Player Released Today with the Launch of Three Player-Enabled iPhone Apps

AMSTERDAM, January 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Layar, the largest open platform in mobile augmented reality (AR), announced today that the Layar Player is out of beta. The Player is now available to all agencies, brands and developers to include AR for free in their own iPhone applications (apps) andr each over a million active users on the Layar platform.

The beta period concludes with the launch of three Layar Player enabled iPhone apps - Bing sponsored Snowboard Hero, an augmented reality extension in the popular game that allows players to earn more points; Layar Trade, an application helping people view recent projects and work from local builders; and VerbeterdeBuurt, an application to improve your neighborhood, letting neighbors post their issues and ideas for the public space on the map.

"This year is about the democratization of augmented reality as we work to find ways to make it easier for everyone to create and publish AR content," said Claire Boonstra, co-founder and VP of platform and community. "The Player availability is the first of many activities Layar will be announcing this year to make this democratization happen."

"At Bing, we aim to bring information into people's lives that is visually organized, simple and easy to digest. Augmented reality on mobile devices provides more opportunities to overlap reality with digital information that informs, educates and creates new ways to play within your environment," said Wibe Wigenmans, Bing for Mobile. "The mobile experience for Bing users continues to evolve as we constantly look for ways to create visually engaging experiences."


Bing Sponsored Snowboard Hero
Created By: Fishlabs and MUZAR
Available: United States

Hit the powder year round! For all of those gamers who just can't get enough of the action, you can now open Snowboard Hero and play directly in your reality. This Bing sponsored game gives you the opportunity to collect extra credits by using augmented reality based on GPS position. To start playing, a user goes outside into an open area and fires up the game. The goal is to collect as many credits as possible within five minutes.

Created By: TAB Worldmedia in cooperation with The Saints
Available: Netherlands

Take control of your community. VerbeterdeBuurt is a tool for citizens to report any disturbance within their neighborhood directly to their municipality. It is the natural way to see reported issues as well as the submitted ideas for improvements within your own community.

Trade Vision
Created By: AYR Communications
Available: United Kingdom

When hiring a contractor, don't just take their word for it - see for yourself. Trade Vision provides a unique way to seek out work from a local tradesman. By viewing what's around you using augmented reality, you will be presented with icons representing the different types of work recently undertaken by tradesmen in your area.