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Layar takes augmented reality to Nokia N8 and other Symbian smart phones

Augmented reality app Layar is now available for Symbian smart phones, including the Nokia N8 and E7. It joins the existing iPhone and Android versions of the AR browser.

Layar is one of the most high-profile augmented reality apps, but until now, it's only been available on iPhone and Android. Now another smart-phone OS has been added to the mix: Symbian. The Layar Reality Browser just went live on Nokia's Ovi Store for handsets such as the N8 and E7.

If you're new to Layar, it's one of a number of AR apps which overlay digital content and information on to your view of the real world, as seen through your phone's camera. Developers create individual 'layers' for the Layar app (hence the name), each of which does something different.

Some layers let you see local tweets hovering over the camera feed, for example, while others show property prices or shopping data. There are AR gaming layers, and even a Beatles-themed tour of London, which makes a cartoon Fab Four stroll across the Abbey Road zebra crossing.

To use the Symbian version of the app, you'll need a handset with GPS, a front-facing camera, a compass and an accelerometer, which is in a small but growing number of devices. At the time of writing, Layar supports Nokia's N97 and N97 mini, the N8, C7, C6-01 and E7.

CEO Raimo Van Der Klein is chuffed with the new version. "Layar's goal is to bring the AR experience into people's everyday lives and with this offering we are able to provide Nokia users with that rich digital experience on their mobile phones," he waffles on the company's blog.

"We are proud to help bring augmented reality to the masses, and with Nokia and Symbian -- which remain juggernauts in the mobile industry with millions of users and devices in the market -- we are significantly closer to that goal."

Layar doesn't have much competition on the Ovi Store in the augmented-reality stakes, although fellow startup Mobilizy has released a series of Symbian apps based on its Wikitude technology.