The future of augmented reality may actually be in shopping apps

The future of augmented reality may actually be in shopping apps

How the technology is implemented matters more than the device it arrives on.

We’ve already established that it’s the pervasiveness of online shopping apps killing the shopping mall. But what about augmented reality? Could that change the way we purchase things in the future?

I spent an hour this week at a pop-up showcase for the ASUS ZenFone AR. It’s been nearly eight months since the smartphone was announced, and though we still don’t have a launch date, it’s bound to be on sale soon for anyone interested in a device that can do double duty. The 5.7-inch smartphone is compatible with both Tango and Daydream View.

The showcase itself featured varying demonstrations of the device’s native augmented reality abilities, including apps like Google’s Expeditions for the Classroom and Slingshot Island. What stood out most glaringly, however, were the two stations at the beginning dedicated to helping you buy things.

The Wayfair app lets you preview furniture as it would appear in your room.

First up was Wayfair, an online marketplace for furniture and home goods. It already offers a bit of a faux reality element in its current Play Store implementation, but anyone with a Tango-enabled device will have access to its augmented reality features. The app lets you preview a fully four-dimensional furniture sample scaled relative to your environment. You’ll even see the size of the box it’ll arrive in, so you know how much cardboard chaos to expect in your tiny apartment.

The second app in the demonstration corral was one from BMW. It helps potential adopters primarily visualize their reality with BMW i3 or i5 car. The…

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