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Dutch company augments mobile reality

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Dutch developer SPRXMobile has created a browser that overlays local information on the camera view, augmenting reality with superimposed information provided by business partners, who pay for the privilege.

Android handsets feature a digital compass, which can be used along with GPS to enhance the real world with additional information sourced from cyberspace. Layar (as SPRXMobile titles their browser) isn't the first to do this - Mobilixy's Wikitude has been doing much the same thing for some months - but the company has signed deals with local information providers in the Netherlands to advise on houses for sale and rent, local hot spots and jobs.

We can't remember the last time we searched for a job by selecting the street in which we wanted to work, but looking for somewhere to live makes a lot of sense and SPRXMobile is keen to emphasis that it can plug in additional information providers as they sign up.

Right now the company only has deals in the Netherlands, but is obviously hoping to spread the idea, as well as supporting more platforms. More observant readers will have noticed that the new iPhone 3GS (to be launched Friday) also features a compass and GPS, and SPRXMobile will be porting their application to Apple's platform as soon as they get the chance - Android still being rather a niche proposition.

Ever since we swatted virtual mosquitoes (on the ill-fated SX1) we've been big fans of augmenting reality, just waiting for the version that can show us the quality of beer available before entering the pub - a true application for billions of dollars of space hardware, and the very latest in mobile technology. ®

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