Layar taps print media with new web app

Tue Jun 5, 2012 9:57am EDT

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(Reuters) - Software developer Layar on Tuesday rolled out an application to help publishers more easily link their print and digital content, hoping to jumpstart its so-called mobile augmented reality (AR) business.

AR overlays text, graphics and sound on images viewed on smartphone or tablet screens, on PCs or through dedicated glasses.

It is expected to move into the mainstream over the coming years as chipset vendors incorporate the technology, which enables features like image recognition in smartphones, tablets and PCs.

The boom in smartphones led by Apple Inc's iPhone, which has location capabilities, cameras and sufficient processing power, has enabled people to try out the technology for themselves.

Software from Layar, founded in 2009 and backed by Intel Capital, has been downloaded to more than 20 million mobile devices and has around 3 million monthly active users.

But the Amsterdam-based firm has struggled to generate revenues from its large consumer following and is turning to publishing firms using AR for advertising or adding digital content to print publications.

The ad-funded version of the Layar Creator application is free, while media houses can also buy an ad-free version. The application also removes the need to hire developers for using AR features.

(Reporting By Tarmo Virki; Editing by David Cowell)

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