Augmented reality apps could be breakout hits in 2018

Augmented reality apps are expected to make a major splash in mobile app stores over the coming year. The interest is already starting to have an effect, with monthly downloads rising from less than 300,000 in mid-2017 to more than 750,000 by the end of October.

This comes from App Annie tracking downloads in the top 500 apps listing augmented reality when searched for in the Apple App Store.

App Annie’s Matt Miller writes:

“We predict that in 2018, AR will take another significant step forward towards realizing its massive potential. In fact, starting in September 2017, there has been a significant increase in iPhone app downloads for the top ranking apps by “Augmented Reality” app store search.”

Part of App Annie’s 2018 app economy outlook report, the company says that although Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Niantic and other big-name companies have drawn attention to AR recently, developers should look at a different strategy to make an impact.

The report says:

“As a broader range of app publishers continue to claim their first stake in the AR opportunity, we expect that in 2018 “glance-centric” use cases built around layering contextual information on top of the real world will see the most widespread traction with users.”

App Annie lists Google Translate as an example, which uses phone cameras to overlay language translations on the text seen in the viewfinder. These apps will act as an entry point for those interested in AR, but not games or face filters.