25 Best AR apps 2017 for iOS and Android with business model

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Let us talk about best augmented reality apps.

What is augmented reality: It is a technology that can enhance your everyday life using an electronic device, such as a smartphone or a tablet with iOS to Android.

How Augmented reality works: AR apps use your current location to project virtual objects on display, or on special augmented reality glass. It provides enormous potential starting from chasing digital creatures to designing complex machines or engineering structures.

It has grown rapidly over the last few years, providing new possibilities every day. Each product provides unique features to users and upgrades their life in its own way. Best Augmented Reality apps provide exellent user experience.

Business model: Overall, the strategy how AR apps make money isn’t much changed from the way as common apps that do. Some methods for AR apps are lost or become less attractive. Other methods for them become more convenient and some new appear.

Further we shall consider the following strategy coins. And each of strategies will take the  examples of applications and how they make money.

Paid Applications

This is the most common strategy how developers of AR apps can make money.

In this case they provide access to application for one-time purchase. Mostly, after payment users receive full accesses to all content and features, while also supported to app update.

Usually, huge updates with new content or features (for example game addons) should be purchased separately.

Downside: Nowadays users do not want to buy “a cat in a sack”, so they avoid purchasing apps in which they are not sure. The situation can be saved by good marketing, demo version or freemium mode.

Best Paid AR Apps:

eyeMaps: Augmented Reality Map

This App allows you to get information on selected language. Just use camera mode to get known about world around you.
It instantly shows you names of mountain peaks, cities, villages, museums and more. Follow links to wikipedia to get more info.
Watch and share your photos on  a 3D map.

Main features: Creating a 3D map of the world around you while providing you with info marks on it.

Pro tip: If you plan a trip download that region for an offline use.

Monetization duo: selling app.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Vortex Planetarium – Astronomy

Vortex Planetarium is a beautiful and easy app about everything on our sky and above.
Tons of data including everything of the night sky contents. Thousands of stars, constellations, messier objects, caldwell objects and much more. And all of that in your smartphone opens by a simple click.

Main features: Highly configurable content. Set transparency of constellation art or tap number of stars you wish to see in the night sky.

Pro tip: Discover, at the touch of a button, upcoming celestial events such as eclipses, conjunctions, moon phases, season changes and much more.

Monetization duo: selling app.

Available for: Android.

Plane Finder – Flight Tracker

Top rated travel app in Google play.

It  gives you accesses to see all air traffic around the world in real time mode. Meantime the app gives you highly customized content to set everything for your needs.

With Augmented Reality view you can identify planes overhead with your device camera. The app also allows to set notifications when a plane appears in the sky above you.

Main features: Application works by picking up real time ADS‐B signals. This technology is faster than a traditional radar!

Pro tip: Easy to configure; you can create, save and name as many filters as you need for comfortable use.

Monetization duo: selling app.

Available for: Android and iOS.

iOnRoad Augmented Driving Pro

A useful app that allows you to make from your smartphone a high functional device.

Provide support to you  with gps, traffic monitoring, video and image capturing and much more.

Main Feature: Use device’s native camera, GPS and sensors to detect vehicles in front of you. Alert drivers when they are in danger.

Pro tip: help you find your parking place via snapshot of your parking spot.

Recommended for: every car driver.

Monetization duo: selling app.

Available for: Android and iOS.


Sell Premium Content

In-app purchases provide accesses for users to virtual benefits. It may be anything like extra bonuses, addition features, premium content, game benefits or other stuff.

  • Consumable – purchased services or benefits may be used in a set number of times..
  • Non-consumable – purchased services or benefits may be used unlimited number of times.
  • Subscriptions are used to unlock features and content for a limited period. Example: annual news subscription.

Downside: To provide really huge profit the app should hold oppositions in a market, have good marketing and many active users. On the other side, profit will be low.

Best AR Apps With In-app Purchases:

Star Chart

This App provides you with info about everything what humanity already knows, about everything what is in our sky. Stars, constellations, meteors showers, comets and planets of the Solar system – all is waiting to be explored by you.

Activate AR mode and rise up your camera to the sky and Star chart will tell you everything about stars, constellations, asteroids, meteor showers and comets…

Main features: Massive database stores total of over 120,000 stars, for the northern and southern hemisphere.

Pro tip:

Monetization duo: selling to users availability to see comets, meteor showers etc.

Available for: Android and iOS.

DINO ON MY DESK AR

Augmented reality based game gives you a chance to try time and pet a virtual dinosaur. Curious and cute looking dinosaur from ages past will wander on your desk.

You may play with it by hands, or by taping on display screen. You may even feed it. But whatever you do – remember, it has temper!

Main features: Play and learn about prehistoric world of dinosaurs.

Pro tip: Don’t act aggressively, it has temper!

Monetization duo: selling virtual food for pet.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Flightradar24

Top 1 travel app in over 140 countries.

Make your device turn into an air traffic radar and allow you to see planes around the world flying in real-time on a detailed map.

Filters, bookmarks and search help to easily manage massive database and quickly get access to anything you need.

In AR mode you can point your Android device up to the sky, and find a plane there. The app will provide you with info about it’s name, where it is going and more.

Main features: The app provides a unique experience to allow you to see what the pilot of a an aircraft sees in real-time and in 3D.

Pro tip: Make your device the arrivals and departures board of any major airport you choose and get access to real-time status updates for any flights plus current airport weather conditions.

Monetization duo: app sell and in-app purchase like little addition features, view the arrivals and departures board of any major airport…

Available for: Android and iOS.

EmotionsAR

This app is for those who saw animated photos in Harry Potter and always wanted one for themselves. EmonionsAR provides you with exclusive chance not only to see such kind of things via your camera, but create it by yourself!

What it would be? A short animated photo, or a long video story? It’s only you to choose.

Main features: Create your own photos with AR video content!

Pro tip: Try something easy at a start, before you take real challenges.

Monetization duo: selling coins that provides ability to create video-photos.

Available for: Android and iOS.

EmotionsAR

Sell Premium Product

While AR apps are mostly oriented to provide content with real world interaction, they make new way to earn extra funds. Applications ask users to buy additional products like books, pages, cards, with which apps can work.

Downside: As all physical purchases, they depend on delivery service (time and safety) and its limitation. On the other hand, printed products may have low quality and interact issues.

Best AR Apps With Premium Product Selles:

Crayola Color Alive

Application brings kids experience to interact and play with colored pages. What it would be? Merciless dragon? Stealth elf? Flying fairies? Barbie princess? Anything of that!

Bring your color drawings to life with animated models that rise up from the Crayola-lined pages. Save your best characters to share with your friends and family and use them in anytime.

Main features: Tons of characters! Print free pages, or purchased packs, then color them and bring them to life.

Pro tip: Don’t lose your masterpiece! Save it!

Monetization duo: selling extra coloring pages with characters to interact.

Available for: Android and iOS.

AR-ANIMALS

AR-ANIMALS use Augmented reality technology to bring live paper images of animals. Just after 1-2 scan it will wander around, eat and “talk”.

Unfortunately, there are no possibilities to interact, play or color AR model.

Main features: over 34 highly detailed and animated animals.

Pro tip: You may get a book if you want to see HD animated models.

Monetization duo: selling animal prints (or book with HD images) to interact with them.

Available for: Android and iOS.

AR-ANIMALS

Pukka Fun

Pukka Fun allows kids to get charge with augmented reality, while staying active and creative in real world. To get the app work you should self hand color a page of the book.

With 3D models of page images you can play and interact further by touching screen. Also you may save your creations to use them anytime later.

Main features: up to 30 AR Pages with unique experiences and games on each.

Pro tip: try it in company of friends, there is much less fun to use it alone.

Monetization duo: selling coloring book to user. As well it’s good for marketing as attracting new users to the site.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Quiver

A beautiful tool to make images on paper  alive.

This application has a wide range of characters and locations to select from animals and cartoon characters to education pages with earth and volcano.

You can interact and play with the AR characters by touching your screen. Meanwhile education pages have quiz to test your knowledge.

Main Features: Enjoy a traditional physical coloring experience and then create an AR model of it.

Pro tip: Chose only colors you like best! In the end AR model will have save colors.

Monetization duo: selling additionals coloring-pages.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Best augmented reality apps

Advertising

Most common apps use advertising as the main source of monetization, so there is nothing special that AR apps use the same methods to make money. Developers can choose between next ways to get paid:

  • Pays for every time the ad is displayed to users (Cost per impression)
  • Pays for every click that is made by users on the advert (Cost per click)
  • Native, banner and interstitial ads.

Downside: Usually, the profit from advertising is the lowest among all the methods and sometimes it annoys users.

Best AR Apps With Ads.

SkyView® Free

All secrets of galaxy are in your pocket. Feel free to explore star map above your head. Discover constellations, Solar system planet and even distant galaxies.

The application uses your device camera in AR mode to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in the sky, during day and night.

Enjoy wonders of the night sky, explore its deepness, find beautiful places and share it with friends and family.

Main Feature: Use Time Travel option to see the future or the long past of the sky on different dates and times.

Pro tip: It would work even without internet connection and GPS function. So feel free to use it anywhere and anytime.

Monetization duo: showing ads time to time.

Available for: Android and iOS.

INKHUNTER – tattoo designs

This app lets you do get to know how will look tattoos before they even start in real.

By just putting small marks on the desired body part and scanning you may see how the tattoo would look on your skin.

Main Feature: Like nothing you in the list? Be creative! Design and upload your own tattoo!

Pro tip: Check this before ink in real.

Monetization duo: showing ads time to time.

Available for: Android and iOS.

AR Showcase

Small application developed to show various of items in Augmented Reality mode.

Beautiful and easy to use it contains highly detailed models. They appear before the camera after scanning printed page with special texture on it.

Main features: You may interact with 3D models by animating it, changing material, setting transparency.

Pro tip: You may see technical notes of the item if you are interested in it.

Monetization duo: showing ads time to time.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Virtual Stores

Sales of various things over the Internet is not unusual for a long time. However, the AR function increases the possibilities in this direction.
With AR function the user can see 3D model of the selected lot from a catalog. This may be the minimized model (such as house / apartment) or model in real size (such as clothing / furniture). The last category of stuff you may try in real world using your camera to place it whenever you want.
All of these solve the biggest problem of e-market, where the buyer could not test the product.

Virtualstore may be the owner of AR app, or just pay commission fee to developer for each purchase via their application.

Downside:.Instead of virtual purchase, phythical purchase take time for delivery.

Best Virtual Stores AR Apps

IKEA Catalog

It’s more than just catalog. As any of IKEA publication this app contents inspiration, home furnishing knowledge and ideas for free. Moreover by help of your Smartphone or tablet you may get even more. It provides access to images, films and 360° room sets.

Main features: Wide assortment of various IKEA products.

Pro tip: Try Augmented Reality mode to place selected furniture in your own room before you chose to buy it.

Monetization duo: supporting to sell IKEA products.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Best augmented reality apps

LEGO® 3D Catalogue

This app is a masterpiece for LEGO constructor fans.

LEGO 3D Catalogue allows to look at new products as entertaining 3D animations and explore them from all sides. Hold device camera above catalog supported with the yellow app icon, and here you go! Among the 3D animations you will see short stories and product features.

Meanwhile if you lack of printed catalog you always may look for online catalog of LEGO products.

Main features: Tons of LEGO content!

Pro tip: try the app if you are looking for something or just wandering for new ideas.

Monetization duo: supporting to sell Lego products.

Available for: Android and iOS.

iStaging – Interior Design

Powerful tool for home design is now in your hand.

Application allows you to place Augmented Reality 3D models of furnitures to preview it in your home. It doesn’t need any markers and provides examples in actual size in real time.

The catalog contains a wise choice of items by various styles and from the whole world.

The app also supports VR mode and may show 360° VR interior designs created by professional interior designers.

Main features: immersive number of furnitures to try.

Pro tip: With support of Google Tango app provide next level of user experience.

Monetization duo: supporting to sell furnitures.

Available for: Android and iOS.

AR Browsers

Most prospective applications in this section are AR browsers.

Users use an app for free content and possibility to find information around them in the real world. Meantime developers provide possibilities to companies, agencies and organizations to sell their products, services or events to app users.

So users also see companies advertise around them while users use camera mode for search.

In cooperation with print media it allows users to see the product in 3D model, while providing “buy now” option to it.

Downside: As all new technologies, people treat it cold. That’s why users do not want to use their camera to seek information around them instead of using common browsers for the same case.

Best AR Browsers Apps

Wikitude

AR browser with easy to get similar interface and start use.

It may interact with many magazines, newspapers, ads, brochures, packaging, while also show users events nearby. Meanwhile content may be easily added by web-interface, so mostly data is user generated. Wikitude includes image recognition and tracking, 3D model rendering, video overlay, geo-located AR and much more.

Receive up to 18 different rewards since 2008.

Main features: It uses location-based content from social networks and groups data based on certain business niches and verticals.

Pro tip: If you know what you are looking for – tap it in the search box and see that in 3D model.

Monetization duo: Earn fee for product purchase via app use, and make money by advertising.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Layar

AR app that provides wide optional for use from finding stuff nearby like restaurants, ATM, historical locations to see magazines coming alive with videos and photosets.

Main features: Have high functional set with Layar enhanced products to provide deep experience about it.

Pro tip: The app allows you to scan the posters for the world’s most popular releases. Watch the trailers, get read more information, check what the critics say…

Monetization duo: Earn fee for product purchase via app use, and make money by advertising.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Junaio

An AR browser designed for 3G and 4G mobile devices to use. It’s developed by Munich-based company Metaio GmbH and supported Android and iPhone platforms and was free to use.

But in May 2015 the company was acquired by Apple, and all Junaio channels were deactivated on 15 December 2015.

Main features: Junaio was the first augmented reality browser which had overcome the accuracy limitations of GPS navigation through LLA Markers.

Pro tip: Users could open/load the available channels inside the Junaio app to get access to the according AR contents and scenarios.

Monetization duo: Earn fee for product purchase via app use, and make money by advertising.

Shutdown.

Others

There is some more AR apps with business model that don’t hit in any of previews category. Commonly, they are developed with free access to all content and functionality set. But it still has one of their own.

For example:

One app contains name of the company in it’s title and support to advertising of company brand. So the application like this isn’t developed to make money for their own, but to lobby brand.

Google Translate

It isn’t native AR app, but it has extremely useful AR function to translate.

In the camera mode it allows to translate any text around you which you don’t understand.

Main Feature: Instantly translate a text from up to 30 languages by using the camera mode.

Pro tip: Take a photo for a better translation of any text you need.

Available for: Android and iOS.

Google Translate

Another app developed for same reasons. But here there are lobby positions of the whole country.

S-GE AR

S-GE (Switzerland Global Enterprise) works all over the world to support entrepreneurs and promote Switzerland as a business location. Its role as a center of excellence for internationalization is to foster exports, imports and investments, to help clients develop new potential for their international businesses and to strengthen Switzerland as an economic hub.

Main features: pr and business project.

Available for: Android and iOS.

S-GE AR

Totally Free

Sometimes in any app market you may find completely free apps that are distributed by no cost, and have no in-app purchases, while also contain no ads. They also don’t lobby any brands or interests of any companies. It’s rarely happens, but we found some of them. Take a look:

Anatomy 4D

It’s an easy, extremely detailed and interactive visual guide into the human body.

Anatomy 4D gives you the experience to immerse yourself into enigmatic depths of human anatomy. It helps you see the actual interaction of different body systems by adding or removing them from display.

Main Feature: By scanning 2D images from the main menu you get complete interactive access to human body systems.

Pro tip: Use for great buff in study of biology and anatomy.

Recommended for: anyone who is deeply connected with studies of human body, or ever dreamt to start it.

Available for: Android and iOS.

WallaMe – Augmented Reality

This app provides you with a unique chance to hide private messages in public places.

For now on all the world around you is your private note, and a key to it is in your pocket.

Main Feature: Just take a photo of anything around, add some stickers or freehand sketches and message your friends where you hide it.

Pro tip: Or be more public and share with the world some of your creations to make them available for anyone who uses WallaMe.

Recommended for: those one who loves to go for a walk with the smartphone in the hand.

Available for: Android and iOS.

AR effect

Use AR elements to add them to your pictures or videos.
Attach a funny carnaval mask to your friends’ faces.
Make fairies walk around you.
Spawn brutal dinosaur in your scene.

Main Features: Hundreds of AR elements and effects in your hand.

Pro tip: Drag items by fingers, and change them duo clicking on it.

Recommended for: everyone who wants to create a truly unique photo or a short video.

Available for: Android.

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Conclusion

Augmented Reality Apps are a cool way to add enhancement to your everyday life.

AR makes real life more exciting and a lot more interesting in many ways.

You can interactively learn about our galaxy, history, language and navigating the world around you.

An awesome advantage is with it’s innovation in the automobile industry. There is a vast selection of apps to enhance your driving experience on the market. As well these navigation apps even allow you to still use your phone as you normally would, follow directions or even use as a road camera.

AR has a major effect on e-commerce. In effect it allows companies to bring their products to life so consumers can ‘try before they buy’ products. You can try on clothes or even outfit your living space before you buy new furniture and this takes away the guessing from shopping.

Education is a market that needs to stay innovative.Without any doubt, our younger generations are becoming more and more tech savvy earlier in life and app developers are adapting to this culture. Augmented reality has made learning more fun and interactive and spark interests.

The photo and video industry is the largest market for AR on the market. People are always looking for ways to spice up their memories. You can choose from a vast selection of themed apps to make your moments pop and with this advanced technology which can recognize features such as hands and facial features you can do so much in AR.

Related topics:

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2 comments

Avatar
Anonymous
01:51
18.01.2017

You forgot a huge one that is growing like crazy–Seek https://www.seekadventureapp.com. Like PokemonGO, except instead of winning Pokemon, you win real prizes!

    Avatar
    ThinkMobiles Team
    12:43
    09.03.2017

    Yes, it motivates when you win real prizes. We will look at this game:)

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