Layar announced today the launch of the world's first mobile marketplace for AR content, bringing a new model for the monetization of mobile AR to the Android and iPhone platforms. Anyone looking to take advantage of the excitement behind AR experiences can now create AR content, syndicate it on Layar's platform and benefit from its use by charging users a small one-time fee to access it.Dutch mobile augmented reality (AR) developers
Layar Reality Browser is accessible on the iPhone 3GS and eleven different Android devices, and has been downloaded over 1.6 million times. Users of the application can select from various content layers, such as nearby tweets, Wikipedia articles or even local businesses, and can locate them by holding their phone in their field of view. Using the phone's GPS, accelerometer and compass data, the application can place markers on the screen to show where various objects exist based on their locations in the real world.The
Previously, these various content layers have been entirely free to use, but now with the implementation of a content marketplace business can create branded AR experiences and sell them through Layar. The application uses PayPal to process the transactions, and right now the buying of layers is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
Some of the paid content layers launching with the platform include tour guides, home buying guides and augmented greeting creators. One layer, which sells for $1.95, displays recent criminal activity from SpotCrime.com in over 300 U.S. cities, and another provides an augmented park map for Disneyland and Disney World at a price of $3.45.
One of the more unique layers available on the platform allows music fans to discover the actual geographic locations where some of the most famous album covers were photographed. Perhaps this layer will help fans of the growing "sleeveface" photography meme take their creations to the next level.
Apple takes from purchases made in the AppStore. The company sited "the costs for the platform, legal, administration, banking and others" in Wednesday's press release as the reasons for the 60/40 deal with developers.Layar is taking a cut of each sale - 40% to be exact, which is actually higher than the 30%
The introduction of a marketplace into the mobile AR space could be an enormous boon to the community as it will incentivize companies to create layers. The possible influx of content into the Layar store could work wonders for expanding the AR user base, but the company's 40% cut off the top could also prevent some developers from using the platform.
Either way, Layar's content store is a big leap forward for mobile AR developers who have been searching for better ways to monetize their products. Desktop AR is years ahead of mobile in terms of revenues, but as more computing moves more onto portable devices, stores like Layar's could lead the way toward reversing that trend.