Augmented reality is the next big thing in mobile. The idea of using a mobile phone camera to view objects in reality while the application places relevant information that would coincide with whatever object was focused on by the camera. Quickly find restaurant reviews or retail store coupons without surfing for them, just simply point your camera at them.
Conceptually, this idea has been alive for a while but has really came to fruition since the creation of mobile applications and the iPhone. Tonchidot is one of the first companies to commercialize augmented reality, creating a user-generated content application that provides the latest deals and coupons at various retail stores. Yelp and Layar are also first movers in this growing industry.. Yelp creating a user generated application that provides restaurant reviews at the point of the camera. Tonchidot just completed a $4 million round, and has about 300,000 users for their free service.
Critics are still bringing up questions about how scalable the concept is with the data being user driven. If it is relying on user driven content how often will places turn up without relevant data or content?
All of these questions are relevant but the fact remains that augmented reality in some way will continue to grow in terms of utility. I could see this becoming relevant item for museums to view information on artwork or at conferences and other events where people are viewing lots of items in a short period of time.