Augmented reality app downloads to pass 400 million annually by 2014

The annual number of mobile downloads featuring augmented reality (AR) content is expected to rise from less than one million in 2009 to more than 400 million by 2014, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The mobile augmented reality report found that the proliferation of apps stores amongst both network operators and OS vendors, allied to a steady rollout of AR-enabling technology on smartphones, will lead to a greater number of AR apps being made readily available to end users, and to subsequent rapid increases both in the levels of adoption and service usage.

In addition, the report stated that location-based search apps will account for the majority of all AR downloads annually over the next five years, although by 2014 games, the second most successful category in terms of downloads, will have achieved nearly 30% of all downloads per annum.

However, it also noted that while AR enterprise apps are unlikely to launch before 2012 due to technological constraints, and will subsequently account for a small minority of downloads, they will be able to command a very high subscription price. Meanwhile, the report envisaged that an increasing proportion of vendors would emulate Samsung and begin to preload AR browsers onto handsets.

As report author Dr Windsor Holden observed: “Preloading an AR browser, or indeed any kind of AR-enabled app, onto the handset, greatly reduces time-to-content or thereby offers the opportunity to increase user familiarity with AR in practice.”

Other findings from the mobile augmented reality research include: Total annual revenues from AR-enabled apps will reach $732 million in 2014, up from less than $2 million in 2010; Deployments of time critical AR apps will be limited in the short term due to issues with GPS accuracy Juniper Research assesses the current and future status of mobile augmented reality based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in this bleeding edge industry.