Hold on for a minute? What the heck is “augmented reality”? What do you mean by that, does the reality gets more … real? It seems that the Android OS has gone a fair way since its first release. You only need your smartphone and a bunch of augmented reality applications for Android and you can become an amateur engineer, designer or astrologist. But hey, it’s not something totally new. Just like with the 3D technology and the glasses-free 3D technology, this is actually an old concept that didn’t develop further because there weren’t gadgets or devices to propel a mass adoption.
The history of augmented reality goes back into the ’70, when Morton Heilig created the Sensorama device, a tool that render 3D image, stereo sound and even had aromas and wind during the display of movies. What does this all mean? That’s right, the augmention of the reality. Forty years after the first pioneering step in this field, we now have people that are crafting augmented reality applications for daily use, not only for special moments, like seeing a movie or listening to a song. The augmented reality applications augment and modify the reality using the object recognition technology.
You’d be surprised to find out that augmented reality apps for Android actually have a practical use. Are you a football lover? An augmented reality application can mark different areas so that you could understand easier who’s breaking and who’s following the rules. Do you remember Terminator and how he used to scan people? Well, an augmented reality application is trying to do just that.
Note from the Editor: Popular Augmented Reality apps for iPhone
Top 30 Augmented Reality Applications for Android
Do you know that there are actually browsers for augmented reality? Imagine a world full of AR applications where a browser would guide you. Say you go into a restaurant and you’d like to see the menu for the next week. You scan your order receipt and the information is right inside your phone, delivered by the Layar browser which incorporates different tiny applications developed by third-party engineers.
Yes, WikiTude does exactly the same thing as Layar, it interprets the surrounding world and gives relevant information about the important objects that are near you. It was actually voted the “Best Augmented Reality Browser in 2010”, albeit the “prize” was awarded by a starting website, as well. The program has a good rating and having tried it personally I can say for sure that it’s a great AR browser.
Dish Pointer? Is there really an Android application that can spare me of this hassle? I don’t know how many of you have a satellite dish at home, but you should know that there are specific channels or TV packages that require a special inclination for your satellite dish. Most of the time, it’s a real issue for the average user. This handy application will help you in your efforts.
No, that’s not my car in that picture, but it seems that the guy who owns is using this Android application to find it. However, I wonder how hard is for that guy to identify his car in a parking lot…For the guys with normal cars, parking in near a huge mall is actually a problem. This application will help you find your car and go straight home to discover the secrets of your shopping bags.
5. Tag What
This application is very useful for those that live in very crowded places. Do you love movies, sports, music? Well, who doesn’t right? This application will sort places for you depending on your interests. So, if you’re a music lover, it will show the nearest concerts or some music shops. You can contribute to the community, as well, by tagging everything that you can consider worthy.
No, this application doesn’t transform people from the street into aliens so that you could kill them silently with your laser jets. Your mission consists in having to destroy enemy alien ships that were sent to destroy the Earth. The application is free but we are not sure wether it will work on your phone or not, because at its first release, it was only available for HTC Desire and Nexus.
This is probably one of the best known AR applications for Android. There are many people out there who are using it but don’t even know it’s actually an augmented reality application. Have you ever stumbled across a photo and you were almost sure you saw it somewhere else? Google’s Goggles application can try an identify that photo, document, building and provide the information required in a matter of seconds.
I’ll admit, at first, it seemed like a very stupid augmented reality application for Android and I was so close not to include it in the list. But I decided to download the app and test it for myself. The idea is that a VIP appears on the top of a dollar bill and when you try to take pictures of him, it can even smash your phone’s screen! One of the best apps, I dare say.
This is an application that is destined for all the travelers out there. It’s nice to have a compass that can display 3D environment so that you could guide yourself much easier in the concrete jungle. You can also share the photos with your friends, to show them how far have you gone with your adventure.
Do you know that in your city there are thousands of free Wi-Fi spots? The single problem is – how do you find them? This application filters all the Wi-Fi locations that are available in your city, both free and secured. It works like a personal radar for the Internet freak inside you.
11. Speed View
Yes, your smartphone is now your speedometer. In your car, you may not need it, but wouldn’t be great to identify what’s the speed of your bicycle or, yourself? How can this application make such precise calculation? It’s using the inbuilt GPS to calculate the speed. So, run as fast as you can, the app will catch you anyway!
I am totally against the fast food regime of eating, but I am very sure there are millions out there that will disagree and will do anything to get a quick meal when in a hurry. You will find all your favourite places using this application: Mc Donald’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Pizza Hut.
13. Google Sky Map
Who didn’t hear about this application? The first day after I bough my Android phone I downloaded the Sky Map application to impress my girl. By now, I can already identify and name almost 30 different constellations. Once you get to know some stars, you realize how addictive this application can be.
14. Aug Sat Nav
It’s a needed application for those driver that make mistakes when they’re driving even if they have a GPS inside their car. Obviously, it’s not that easy to hold the phone for 3D driving directions, it can be actually dangerous, therefore a phone car dock or asking somebody to follow the road on it would be the best idea.
15. Shake Fighter
Are you tired of getting beat after beat at rock-paper-scissors? Then maybe this application is your savior. You’re playing with the application, actually, so the hand you see in the above picture is actually the hand of the user who tries to beat an application. Maybe you will get more skilled after trying out this application for several times.
16. Parallel Kingdom
Ok guys, this application is really, really interesting for those of you who’ve always dreamed about a secret world. It delivers a huge world that grows in parallel with the real world. You can find secret places which can be hidden “underneath” of usual city buildings. Mashable’s opinion about the game: “The game has a lot of depth, as players can explore, collect items, even claim territory and found cities.”
17. Geo Goggle
An Android application that can check your location, help you view direction using the compass, determine the speed of movement and you can see the distance from a specific object. It works like a real Terminator hamlet, too bad it won’t you give you too much information about the people you meet.
Have you ever read one of Franz Kafka’s books? If not, I strongly recommend you to do so, if you want to lose yourself inside your own mind and its riddles. This application can seem a little weird, but, as you manage to capture more and more friends and transform their faces in weird insects, you will understand the fun of it.
Junaio is another augmented reality browser that acts like your friend from the not so far future when you will use your phone to get access to pretty much everything. If you find yourself trapped at shopping with your girlfriend, maybe scanning for barcodes using this browser can be a temporary salvation for you.
20. Weather Reality
This one is a paid application which should mean it wasn’t that easy for the developer to see it finished. Using the Weather Reality augmented reality application for Android you can check current conditions for the environment around time; you have access to a real-time radar and can even be warned about severe weather alerts.
21. Satellite AR
I wonder how they do it with this one. Point your Android smartphone or tablet towards the sky and it will show you the path that a satellite is following and will also identify which satellites are currently above you. The application has an average rating of 4.2 out of 3,000 votes. That should tell you something about it.
22. Droid Shooting
Don’t play this game where there are many people or else they will think you are a little out of your mind. Sitting in your chair or laying down in your bed at home and killing invisible enemies on the wall would be a better alternative, trust me. You will be surprised that this game can actually prove to be entertaining.
23. iSnipe You
We hope that this game isn’t destined for some hidden killers out there. If you want to play it for the fun, you can “kill” people when you’re walking down the street and you feel that nothing can make you smile. They are not even noticing that you’re playing with them, head shot after head shot.
24. Star Chart
This “game” is more visual than the basic Google Sky Map and can make you enjoy your idle nights much more. You will learn all the constelations out there if you agree to become an addict of astrology. This application has also the background images of constelations so that you could better understand what we’re talking about.
25. Sky Siege
“Stand up and fight!” says the official tagline for the game. Well, not really. It’s better to keep a low profile with these augmented reality games and applications, to be honest. As I said earlier, it’s not that good for people to think you’re loco. This applications needs a processor of 1Ghz to run, so be sure to have a real monster if you want to play with imaginary helicopters.
26. Augment Photos
This one here has a very practical use, if you ask me. It’s easy to see if a specific poster fits on your wall or not by using this application. Before decorating your room with your favorite music bands and sportsmen, verify using this application if all your VIPs fit together in the same room.
This is another example of how inventive Android application engineers actually are. Don’t have to buy a piano? Not a problem, grab a pencil and a sheet of paper and start drawing the piano itself. Use the Android smartphone to interpret the pian and release the Mozart within you!
28. Hoops AR
What about playing a simple basketball game straight from your Android smartphone or tablet? It gets activated after you scan the ticket that you can find here. The game is pretty interesting, but I have to wonder – why bother printing that ticket when they could have released a simple basket game. But hey, it’s all about augmented reality here.
29. Sun Surveyor
Play around with the Sun and Moon and discover their positions, angle and any other details that might interest the astrologist within you. You can find out the exact hour when the Sun will rise and set, that’s in case you want to be an early riser and get all things done by the set of Sun, like ancient people used to do.
30. Dan Kam
We have an application destined to help those that can’t differentiate the green color from the green one, the red-green color blindness. It’s a great tool for those that suffer from this eye illness. Maybe the application could be improved even more so that a complex program could help people in their daily activities.