I posted this comment on this Wired article today:
It’s clear that people still don’t get the potential of augmented reality. The fact that the media keeps comparing it to Oculus indicates that they don’t get it either. The use cases for AR and VR are entirely divergent. Oculus will be all about immersive movies and gaming while AR is about the overlay of images and information on the real world. What Magic Leap promises to do that Glass cannot is provide 3D imagery that interacts with one’s surroundings and obey the physics of those surroundings. Note how the elephant GIF depicts a technological sensory awareness of the hands as a surface on which the elephant can stand. That’s REALLY hard to do and is the holy grail of AR (along with finding a form factor for spectacles that people will embrace). Once you nail this, AR becomes a hands-free medium for executing guided tasks, presenting information about objects, people and places in the field of view, gaming and… yes, advertising.
So Google’s interest is understandable. I believe that the venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins are the ones who “never want to be more than a phone call away from the Next Big Thing” which explains their interest. Qualcomm has been engaged in AR for several years now, ostensibly to promote their Snapdragon mobile chips into which they are building the capability to perform the aforementioned 3D recognition and overlay in concert with their Vuforia AR platform http://bit.ly/1ylweFM. The part I haven’t quite grasped is Legendary Pictures’ interest. Are they looking to get into alternative adjuncts to their film releases or in on the ground floor of a new form of AR entertainment where characters interact with the user and their surroundings?