Ina Fried

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Augmented Reality Universe Gets a New Layar

Layar, one of the pioneering augmented reality phone applications, is getting a new update that the program’s founders hope will make it both easier to use and more social.

The smartphone app allows various information–from nearby 7-11s to residential home listings to game content–to be layered on top of what is seen by a phone’s camera.

“This year we are continuing to look for more ways to bring augmented reality into people’s everyday lives,” Layar’s Raimo Van der Klein said in a statement. “With today’s new version, we’re able to take a huge step closer towards that goal by giving users the chance to discover exciting new content and share cool layers and augmented screenshots with friends.”

On the social front, users will be able to share what they see with friends via Facebook and Twitter. The new version adds what the company says is a better user interface as well as the ability for various layers to now have animated content, as opposed to just static images.

The new features are available immediately in version 5.0 for iPhone (iOS version 4.0 and higher) and for Android. Layar said the new features aren’t yet available for Symbian, though it aims to add them to that operating system soon. The update has been in beta testing since February.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus