Grand View Research estimates that by the year 2028 the augmented reality market is estimated to surge beyond $340 billion! Even now, though, augmented reality has seeped into video games, online experiences and even the automotive market.
This technology is more widely used than some individuals might assume. Our cars now display augmented reality to aid navigation, and these experiences also can be found in apps for smartphones or tablets. Ready to find some unique augmented reality experiences? Check out these augmented reality applications that are smartphone-friendly!
Why Smartphones are the Perfect Way to Explore Augmented Reality
For individuals who have never played around with augmented reality, what’s the big deal about the technology? What makes augmented reality so cool?
Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality is easily accessible to almost anyone with a compatible mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet. While some augmented reality experiences for businesses (known as enterprise applications) might require the use of special augmented reality glasses, most consumer-driven experiences don’t demand any special glasses, goggles or headwear. And some of these experiences might even be free to download!
Augmented reality shouldn’t be confused or conflated with virtual reality. While both types of technology encompass extended reality (or XR for short), augmented reality is a very different experience than virtual reality. With augmented reality, the user provides an application or website access to their device camera. The user then uses the camera to capture their real world environment, and they can choose where they drop in an augmented reality feature.
Augmented reality features or models are graphic depictions created in 3D. These graphics are overlaid onto the user’s real environment. With augmented reality, users can swipe lipstick colors on their lips using their camera to show their face. The lipstick is, of course, just a graphic or illustration of a real lipstick hue.
Games, marketing campaigns, stores and companies can all offer augmented reality experience. For the consumer, augmented reality can heighten the experience and create a more immersive interaction online or via an app.
Augmented Reality Applications for Anyone
Consumers who want to try out these experiences can find them via Google Play, the App Store or maybe via Windows apps, too. While searching for augmented reality will bring up many search results, let’s narrow it down by the experiences that might be the easiest to explore for those new to the extended reality universe.
Augmented Reality Games
For individuals who love adventure games, augmented reality could add another element to the excitement. Players will see their real environment—whether it’s their backyard, the park or somewhere else entirely—combined with graphic depictions from the games.
Here are a few games to try out augmented reality.
The classic augmented reality game, Pokemon GO is fun and really easy to navigate. Users can find and collect cute Pokemon everywhere in the real world…and then do battle. Who knows where the Pokemon might hide! Users have to be cautious, though, when playing. Don’t ignore surroundings while hunting for these anime creatures! The game is currently ranked as the top game in the strategy category by Apple’s App Store!
Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs
Love Angry Birds? Play it with an augmented reality twist! Instead of just looking at those angry birds, they can now be launched in the home, the backyard…anywhere!
Stack a tower of blocks on your table, the floor or maybe the toilet (no one’s judging!). This is a fun stack game that can be viewed in any real life backdrop.
Paper Bin AR
Drop a trash can into the room and start tossing augmented reality balls of paper. See how many can get into the trash can. The game features several different levels for those who like a paper throwing challenge.
Who is Avo? That’s a living avocado…the creation of inventor Billie. And, apparently, Avo is a crime-solving avocado! This game features an augmented reality avocado!
Build robots, train them and then do battle against other robots. These robots appear via augmented reality…so drop them anywhere.
Augmented Reality Experiences
Augmented reality offers consumers an interesting power; with the technology’s graphics combined with real world data, experiences can be tailored for a ‘try on’ preview for clothes, makeup, haircuts and more.
One of the easiest ways to try out augmented reality is via marketing experiences created by companies. These experiences are a bit like a virtual fitting room. Check out these augmented reality experiences that can help consumers when shopping online.
Augmented Reality Furniture
Ikea Place lets users drop different products into their real world environment to preview how it might look. Preview chairs in the living room or maybe a table. The app notes to check back daily…there could be new items to preview.
The site Thinkmobiles listed DecorMatters as a great app for a furniture preview experience. The site notes that users can drop in furniture from many different retail stores like Crate & Barrel and even furniture store Ashley.
Cosmetics via Augmented Reality
Ulta and Mary Kay all offer augmented reality experiences to let users preview makeup shades. Individual brands also might offer these experiences via an app. For example, E.L.F. offers a virtual experience via its app for customers to preview shades.
For consumers who are interested in repainting a room in their home but maybe aren’t sure what hue would look best, augmented reality has the solution. Yes, there are apps and experiences that let consumers preview paint colors on their walls. Check out Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer app or Home Depot’s Project Color™ app. Choose the paint hue and preview it!
Shopping for a new car can mean that consumers are often stuck looking at static two-dimensional photos of vehicles. While a video might help shoppers gain more insight about a car or maybe photos depict up-close looks at certain features, pictures don’t always show everything.
Augmented reality showrooms let shoppers view a 3D vehicle model right in their environment. Using a phone or tablet camera, users can project the model anywhere. Then they can explore the car and even walk around it using their phone. Some experiences even let users look inside.
While augmented reality showrooms don’t let users actually physically explore the models, the technology can better simulate a dealership showroom experience. These 3D models might be able to give shoppers enough basic data about the vehicle that they know whether it’s going to remain as a possible ‘must buy’ contender or be deleted from the list…and the user’s environment!
Why Explore Augmented Reality?
While some augmented reality apps (like games) might have a price associated with them, many of these apps, games and experiences are free and don’t require any extra investments (like a headset). Augmented reality is an accessible technology that has the power to heighten the user experience.
So why should consumers explore augmented reality? Why not! It’s a fun and immersive way to check out new products, play games and even preview cars from home. With the digital graphic overlays, users can virtually swipe on eyeshadow using just their camera. Paint hues can color the living room without actually dipping a brush into paint. Even clothes and haircuts might be previewed before actually committing to a purchase or letting the scissors take a few cuts.
Augmented reality lets shoppers take the guesswork out of their purchases. Finding out if a blush shade flatters a complexion isn’t a mystery anymore. Will a chair fit in the living room? Make some space and drop it in to find out!
Digital graphics might even decrease buyer remorse. Sometimes a paint shade looks great in the can, but once it’s swiped on the walls it takes on a whole new look…and that look might be atrocious! Now homeowners can see if that pea green shade really will open up the room. Or if the scarlet red hue will create a romantic bedroom ambiance.
With the pandemic, many consumers were likely stuck and home and using the computer to shop for purchases. However, many were used to being able to look at products, feel them, maybe even try that out. The internet and web sites can’t offer that physical aspect of the shopping experiences. However, augmented reality can add a more interactive element. Although shoppers can’t touch the product, they can experience them…even if it’s just via graphic elements.
The future of shopping might include more of these experiences. And shoppers might search their phones to find different experiences, too. Sometimes these experiences can be found within company or business apps. Other times, they stand alone. Want to know if a favorite store offers augmented reality try-on experiences, download their app or visit their website to find out.
Companies and businesses may evolve to meet the needs and demands of their customers. And if the customer experience begins to favor augmented reality, then perhaps these unique and interactive shopping experiences might become the norm.