How much does augmented reality app cost? That is becoming a pretty frequent question, as more and more researches and surveys show positive trends of AR. We would answer that question and provide as many details as possible. Furthermore, we also talk about what you need to create an augmented reality app for Android and iOS.
Augmented reality SDK
A software development kit (in other words devkit) is nothing else than a package of software dev tools. AR developers need it to make applications by using completed solutions. SDK helps and simplifies coding phase, especially with AR development, to avoid writing steps from scratch.
SDK is popular in augmented reality mobile app development:
It seems like Vuforia is the most popular SDK around the globe. It provides AR developers with powerful and comfortable tools. By using Computer Vision tech it provides possibility to recognize and track target images. As a result, the app may project 3D objects or Media in real-time.
Moreover, Vuforia has one of the best characteristics of minimal angles of markers recognition. It also has minimal requirements for tarker visibility of overlapped targets. Besides, stability of immovable and movable markers is the best among other SDKs.
Supported platforms: Android, iOS, UWP and Unity Editor.
You may get source code of Vuforia SDK.
Wikitude gives a wide range of functions, including SLAM technology and geo-location. Unfortunately, other parameters of this SDK are higher than average, but still not the best.
Supported platforms: Android, iOS, Smart Glasses.
You may get source code of Wikitude SDK.
Kudan is faster than most of frameworks. It also provides an unlimited number of recognized images. Furthermore, Kudan requires less memory storage for its libraries.
This SDK may become a good analogue of Vuforia and Wikitude. But developers should know that in some parameters it is inferior to Vuforia, and doesn’t have some functions of Wikitude. For example, it does not support geolocation and cloud recognition.
Supported platforms: Android, iOS.
You may get source code of Kudan SDK.
Want to know more about AR SDK? Check out our review about it!
Pre-requirements for AR app development
The mobile application document is nothing else than the basis of a future product. It outlines the business logics and list of technical specifications. Documentation guides development team from rough concepts to final scripts.
It’s always better to have it done and ready before contact anyone to deal for an app development. It would help to build any app exactly you desire from the start. Managers would help if clients have no experience in creating detailed project documentation.
Augmented reality development rates worldwide
Northern America – from $50 to $250 per hour.
Western Europe – from $50 to $200 per hour.
Australia – from $40 to $170 per hour.
Eastern Europe – from $20 to $100 per hour.
Southern America – from $15 to $75 per hour.
Asia – from $10 to $50 per hour.
There are many augmented reality SDKs available around the market and there are some appmakers like Zapwork. But AR technology is pretty new in development fields so ‘do it yourself’ and freelancers can do much. To be sure, it’s better to deal with development companies.
Project documentation cost for AR app development: $500-$1,000, and it takes 3-10 days.
Documentation should include as many details as possible. Try to provide developers with details about your product vision, its features, APIs and technical details, dependencies and others. It’s also great if a client can provide some photos, sketches or wireframes to illustrate his or her own requirements.
Note: While you don’t have ready project documentation ready it’s hard to be more specific. Also it’s almost impossible to make accurate estimate of augmented reality cost.
This step engages a project manager among clients to communicate with each other. They solve the main question and discuss every important detail. That phase also includes:
- creating development team and divides the role and the task of each person.
- setting timelines, deadlines and milestones;
- making detailed and clear estimate.
Project estimate cost for AR development: completely free, but may take 2-5 days.
This phase length depends on project size and complexity. Obviously, large and complex projects take more time to estimate so, likely, cost more. On the other side, cost to estimate a project similar to existing applications is cheaper.
Estimation of augmented reality app cost
Development and design
This phase includes writing the main code architecture and creating application design. Both processes are closely related and interdependent issues. So the main parts of each them are:
- The 3-rd party APIs integration.
- Access to enterprise data.
- Setup and basic controls.
- Data storage.
Average time is 250-600 hours.
- Wireframe creation.
- 3D graphic models.
- UI/UX design.
- Visual design.
Average time is 150-500 hours
Surely, all average costs and time value of those parts are listed approximately. Length of each of the part is highly individual for each exact augmented reality application project. So it may be less than average, or go far beyond.
There are many common features that may be added to the application. But the most important feature of AR applications is augmented reality itself. How augmented reality apps work may be experienced in 4 different ways. We also will show as examples some of top augmented reality apps.
The simplest way to make AR application is the use of device’s gyroscope. According to gyroscope information application places virtual models around the user.
No SDK is required to do such simple features.
Vortex Planetarium – Astronomy. The app uses gyroscope to place planets, costelstellars, stars and others around a user.
Average time required is 150-250 hours.
Another way to release AR in application is to use trigger-markers in the real world. Markers may be anything from simple QR-codes, icons, cards, images, or even movie posters. Device’s camera catches such kind of triggers. Then application projects specific AR model or media to it.
Marker-based technologies are pretty easy to develop and integrate. However, most parts of time tacking set triggers. Each trigger image should be designed, specialized, scanned and integrated into app separately from others.
Vuforia, Wikitude, Kudan and Maxst SDKs allow to create such kind of feature.
Inkhunter uses simple markers to project AR tattoos.
Quiver uses printed images as markers to project 3D AR models.
Layar allows to scan printed media pictures and movie posters to project 3D AR models, or video.
Average time required is around 200-400 hours.
SLAM (Simultaneous localization and mapping)
The concept of SLAM was born in 80s but only modern devices have enough resources to support it. SLAM technology is used by self-driving vehicles, drones and robotic industry. Complex algorithms fuses data from multiple sensors. Then it precisely calculates user position and creates a map of unknown environment.
Applications use this feature to place different 3D objects in real surrounding. Advantages of this tech: they don’t require any trigger-markers placed around. In addition, virtual objects can react on different objects of real environment that appear on the scene.
You also may use SLAM to build 3D model of random real objects by simply moving camera around it.
Wikitude, Kudan and Maxst SDKs allow to create such kind of feature.
IKEA augmented reality app, Like some other furniture apps use SLAM technology to allow a user place 3D models of furniture in real environment.
Average time required is around 250-500 hours.
Feature uses device’s data from GPS, compass and Wi-Fi to augment reality around a user by placing virtual models, media, text info or link. The user should be in right location and have good internet connection to get AR experience.
Wikitude SDK allows to create such kind of feature.
Pokemon GO. App places different pokemons around the world and engages players to catch them.
Flightradar24. By using user’s GPS, gyroscope and astronomic data it allows a user to identify planes that he may see through his device camera.
Average time required is around 400-800 hours;
There are many features that may be also added into AR application if necessary. They will buff user experience, for sure. Additional features can make apps more flexible, personalized, secured or customized. But each of features will take time to integrate and as a result increase budget cost.
Here is the feature list with the average time required for development:
- Native device features (like address book, access to photo gallery etc.) – 80 hours.
- User engagement feature (like social sharing, push notification etc.) – 32 hours.
- Log-in (email verification, password restore, social log-in etc.) – 32 hours.
- Payment gateway integration (one and more) – 40 hours.
- Multi-language support – 40 hours.
- Device hardware usage – 16 hours.
- Sync across device -32 hours.
- Chat and forums – 50 hours.
- Analytics tools – 32 hours.
- CMS tools – 48 hours.
Testing and deployment
This is the final phase of development process. So, It includes internal, user and deployment testing as well as bug fixing. Games and apps that need high level of security require additional attention.
Deployment phase is about accounting application and submitting it to the app store.
Post released expenses
Released application is just a start of a big journey. So, be prepared to meet new challenges and pitfalls here. Depending on application size and complexity post released expenses may be different. It varies from 10% up to 40% of its total cost per year.
Maintenance may include app’s update, security patches, adding new features, third party fees and other stuff.
Popular genres of AR
AR turns the world around the user into a digital interface. It enhances surroundings with different virtual objects to provide the best user experience. AR may be provided through a wide range of various experiences. We can divide all apps that use augmented reality into 3 main categories.
Augmented Reality 3D viewers
This AR apps allow a user to place and see 3D models of different objects through their device camera. Real world environment may expand with virtual objects, with or without the usage of trigger markers.
Furniture AR app enables customers to try furniture stuff directly at home in it’s real size. After release of that app IKEA reported about increase of customer’s interest and sales rate of their products. Application also significantly decreased return rate.
Printed and colored spring up to life by using AR capabilities. 3D models will be with the same colours as the user colored it before. Afterwards it will be interactive, have some sound effects and can be saved for later use.
This AR app uses simple real world markers that are drawn directly on user’s skin to project augmented reality tattoo on it. A user can check different tattoo images in real-time and capture What he likes best.
How much does AR Viewer development cost?
Augmented reality 3D viewer is all about showing virtual 3D models in real environment. Complexity of these apps hardly depends on AR feature type a client needs. It may be the simplest gyroscope based on AR or advanced one by using SLAM technology.
3D models and simple user interface are also necessary. So, both 3D modeler and UX/UI designer should be also engaged into the development process. Their part of work highly depends on how much model’s app would include, and on how many screens it would lie. Other common features may be also added to improve user experience.
Augmented Reality Browsers
Augmented reality browsers try to be competitive to common browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera. But for almost 10 years they still have much less users than common ones.
Mobile devices become more and more advanced day by day. Internet becomes increasingly available outdoors. Nothing special that various researches predict near 1 billion AR users by 2020.
AR Browsers are mobile apps that display different contextual information and show media through mobile device camera. Virtual content may be triggered by marker devices that exist in real world, or by location-based and it depends on geolocation.
Wikitude is really a powerful tool which enhances surroundings around a user. It allows a user to check information about various products powered by Wikitude, watch media, see location events and others.
This is the top rated AR browser that has partnership with various printed media, brands and companies and enhances their products with AR. But the main part of Layar content is generated by users and anyone can join it.
How much does AR Browser development cost?
To function augmented reality browser use location-based and market-based AR features. Finally, it requires stable internet connection to work properly, as well as GPS, compass and gyroscope device APIs.
While the core of an app is ready, it may be customized by adding some other features to advance its usability.
For example, AR Browser owner may cooperate with print media to add augmented reality content to its pages. Such products also may be purchasable directly from the browser. It would require additional payment gateway integration, security measures and 3D models of a product.
Augmented Reality Games Apps
The last category where AR may be experienced is games. Such kind of augmented reality app uses real environment to enhance player gaming experiments. Application adds virtual objects, items and characters in real world around a player.
Probably, this is the best augmented reality game that blew up market on release. It uses geolocation data to spawn pokemons and engages a player to catch them in the real world. Afterwards a player may train captured pets and challenge other players to fight them.
Two factions of players are involved into the conflict for world domination. They hunt for “exotic matter”, that flies through energy spots (portals) in the real world. Such spots mostly interconnect real places of cultural significance. There are factions that try to overpower each other, and capture portals.
How much does AR game development cost?
Games have not any standards, so it is hard to say how much it would cost without documentation. Obviously, a large amount of content and in-game mechanic would drive app development time and cost.
Popularity of Pokemon Go depends not just on Famous Brand and people nostalgia. Pokemon games are released regularly year by year. But, like Ingress, Pokemon Go offers players new and original format of pokemon catching. So, to build AR bestseller it is highly important to make world around a player interactive.
In addition, to give a user better playing experience there are some additional game-features. While it may rise time and cost of development, it also may make game apps more interesting, and enjoyable. The list of popular game features may be next:
- Advanced storytelling with intros and in-game video – 100 hours.
- Player rating and leagues – 32 hours.
- Music and sound effects – 80 hours.
- Real-time multiplayer – 250 hours.
- Achievements – 56 hours.
Mobile device’s capabilities are becoming more and more advanced from year to year. It’s just a matter of time when people would start to use AR for everyday activities. So, it’s better already to be there when the interest to AR would blow the market.