Venturebeat published a breathy post about how augmented reality is coming in 2013, and how we should all be excited (and, presumably, directing our VC dollars toward it). Among the boosterisms are some valid points of progression showing that the visual layering of some informational virtual reality may actually have some practical uses in the near-term; including especially the ubiquity of some of the once esoteric technology that is required, including gyroscopes, geolocation and display technology that snuck up on mobile users who weren't seeking them for the purposes of augmenting their reality.
Of particular note by author Trak Lord, is the sexy VR glasses that everyone is supposed to be developing. Even fashion glasses brand Oakley has gotten into the action. As a practical matter, users may find themselves using applications on their smart phones without having to tote around additional bodywear.
Perhaps not as sexy as video glass wearing, this author has used two augmented reality apps for practical purposes in the past month: an application that measured heights by allowing for triangulation by pointing a phone camera in various places; and an app for his two-year-old, which displayed video of what was in front of her, except covered every available surface with animated, barking puppies.
Geolocation capacity has become an early check-box feature for most cameras, never mind smart phones. The inclusion of cameras in phones brought in what would otherwise have been a difficult additional hardware hurdle for VR applications to overcome.
One interesting point Lord brings up: many marketers are throwing out their own "augmented reality" apps that are technology demonstrators for the soul purpose of exploiting their novelty to attract eyeballs to rather lame applications. As this becomes a less useful practice with the wearing of that novelty, the general quality perception of applications should rise.