AR app downloads to top 2.3bn by 2021


Developers scramble for the next big thing as AR seems to provide the answer

The popularity of Pokémon Go is inspiring app developers to incorporate augmented reality (AR) technologies into their applications, a new study has shown.

Juniper Research forecasts that the AR market will rise to 2.3 billion apps by 2021, representing a 380% increase from an estimated 482 million in 2016.

The launch of Pokémon Go sparked a worldwide phenomenon that has created a greater interest in the technology, leaving developers ‘champing at the bit’ to recreate its global success, claimed Juniper. According to the new study, AR content has now evolved past its ‘gimmicky’ reputation, and consumer attitudes have become more positive towards the technology.

The report found that despite smartphones already being capable of this level of AR, the success of applications were down to desirable content, such as Pokémon Go and Snapchat.

“The current crop of AR offerings is a taste of its future. Soon, the technology will be commonplace in fields such as medicine, manufacturing and training,” remarked research author, Sam Barker.

Additionally, it found that AR opportunities will be further boosted by releases of other devices. HoloLens, manufactured by Microsoft, is expected to be launched in 2017, adding to competition for Vuzix and ODG. However, warned the research firm, consumers will initially be discouraged by high costs and lack of content, the devices’ superior specifications will lead to improved content over smartphone applications.

The increasing confidence in AR technology as demonstrated by large investments into smaller AR specialists such as Magic Leap. The company has attracted over $1.3 billion of investment to continue the development of their hardware. Shrouded in secrecy, Magic Leap has made no public announcement, however has convinced large companies such as Google and Qualcomm Ventures to invest.

Furthermore, Apple’s inclusion of two rear cameras its latest flagship iPhone indicates that company’s belief that AR content will further penetrate the smartphone ecosystem.


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