Layar, which develops mobile augmented reality browser software, has had a busy weekend with a pair of announcements for the front- and back-ends of its service. Layar allows users to see various types of geo-tagged points-of-interest (POI) - including tweets, Wikipedia articles and business listings - in a virtual perspective by holding their phone up and looking around. The Android version of its app will now leverage the Skyhook Core Engine location SDK for improved location accuracy, and the iPhone version now features a new "Nearby" feature for easier discovery of local content.
-Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, Layar Co-founder
Skyhook SDK Integrated on Android
As Layar continues to iterate its popular mobile AR browser, location accuracy becomes increasingly important. By switching to the Skyhook location SDK for its Android app, CEO Raimo van der Klein says it "greatly improved accuracy and speed over the native Android platform."
"Hyperlocal apps like Layar require exact positioning to show a user what's nearby," said Ted Morgan, CEO of Skyhook. "Integrating our SDK into the Layar app is the perfect solution to achieve the best location results across all Android devices."
Skyhook's SDK is much different than the standard location offerings provided out of the box from Android devices. By blending data from the GPS, cellular and WiFi signals, Skyhook can more accurately estimate location. And improved accuracy is just what the doctor ordered as Layar unveils its latest feature - "Nearby" popular results.
"Nearby" Results Come to the iPhone
Previously when the app was opened, users could chose a specific layer in which to browse for content. With the latest update to the iPhone version of Layar, users are presented with the new "Nearby" feature, which shows a list of the most popular AR content in their immediate vicinity.
The "Nearby" search feature has been available on the Android version of Android since June. Layar co-founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald says the user experience on the Android version has been much more efficient with this feature.
"The Android release has shown that users discover more local content and are no longer confronted with layers that don't contain content around their location," he says. "Layer owners like brands, publishers and agencies now can be sure that their content will be shown when it is relevant: when the user is nearby."
Both of these updates to Layar are good news for both app users and layer publishers. Users get the enhanced usability of improved accuracy from the Skyhook integration and better local discovery. Both of these features, ultimately benefit content providers, large and small, by helping users find relevant data where they are.