After exploring its history in our previous article, let’s continue this series on Augmented Reality with an emphasis on applications.
Not applications, as in use cases… If you want to know more about AR possible uses, including hypothetical ones, a lot of articles have been written about that. I especially recommend this one: The Gigantic List of Augmented Reality Use Cases. It lists a decent number of use cases that sound like sci-fi and yet, are becoming a reality!
Here instead, let’s take a closer look at AR apps! Published either on the App Store or Google Play Store, some have been downloaded thousands of times and are used everyday to fulfill real needs.
The first Augmented Reality App Directory
We have compiled a list of more than 160 augmented reality apps. Official stores put aside, this is the first AR app directory! They are principally dedicated to individuals (B2C).
The idea was not necessarily to create an exhaustive list since more than 2000 apps using AR have been published on the App Store only. Even though it’s still doable, we want to emphasize quality over quantity. It’s a living document. If you know a cool AR app that you don’t see in the list (or want to signal a correction), please submit it HERE.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
The method used to select apps present in this list is somewhat random. They mainly come from articles published on the internet. Even though the following results are to be taken with a grain of salt, I couldn’t help but notice a few interesting observations regarding the 161 AR apps from this list (at the time of writing).
Main App categories
Not surprisingly, the game category is the largest one with 26% of the list. Augmented Reality allows to bring 3D game content to the real world surrounding us, bring characters and monsters to life with an even more advanced level of interactivity. A fantastic tool for editors and video game creators.
Second most frequent are social apps with 16%.
Frequent app n1: This category is over-crowded with what we could call augmented camera apps. They allow users to take a picture or video with the addition of 3D objects, filters or stickers à la Snapchat. They usually make it very easy to share the result with firends and family.
Education is a particularly interesting vertical for Augmented Reality. The strengths of this technology, especially its capacity to represent 3D models in space, can be used to create more captivating and interactive lessons. Why settle for a biology book to see the human body when you can explore it in 3D, life-size?!
Frequent app n2: Identifying stars and constellations by pointing your smartphone is also a use case covered by many apps.
Among the major categories in Augmented Reality, is productivity. Not a surprise as AR is good for giving us more information about what we’re looking at thus making us more efficient. Once again a use case wins by far in this category:
Frequent app n3: Measuring apps. Instead of owning a measuring tape, you can now use your smartphone to get the distance between 2 points. Convenient, isn’t it?
This category includes apps that mainly empower users to try – or visualize in context – before buying thanks to Augmented Reality. Among the 11%, some apps allow for instance to try makeup on to see the result on your face.
When the first smartphones hit the market, some thought they were good for monitoring stock markets, weather, take pictures or listen to music but very few anticipated something like Uber, which wouldn’t have been possible without them. Well maybe we can say the same thing of AR : measuring apps, “selfie apps” with filters etc… are the equivalents of the first mobile apps but who knows what the future has in store for us. Especially if a proper heads-up displays comes to market, I believe we’ll see unexpected uses of augmented reality.
Year of Release
Pokemon GO effect or consequence of the release of ARKit and ARCore, 2017 was quite a year for
Cryptocurrencies Augmented Reality as a very significant number of apps were made available for the first time on the Stores!
Distribution between Android and iOS seems to indicate an advantage for iOS.
Apple has clearly shown its desire to double down on AR, as its CEO Tim Cook – a big AR believer – stated in 2016:
“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you…”
If you too have have an app idea or need to have an AR app developed, feel free to reach out to us (here). Our team is fully capable for creating such apps, from the definition of specifications to their launch on Android & iOS!
We would really appreciate also if you want to contribute to the list: here. It could be extended and we are thinking about adding more info like ratings, ARKit use, etc…