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Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 with Layar browser

Augmented reality shows every sign of being a 'killer app' for smartphones. Here it is in action on an Android handset from Samsung.
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1 of 4 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

Samsung's Galaxy Portal i5700 is an Android smartphone with a pretty standard specification. The Android 1.5 ('Cupcake') operating system and HSDPA mobile broadband at up to 3.6Mbps put it firmly mid-range rather than at the leading edge. Other features include Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), GPS, a 3.2in. 320-by-480-pixel capacitive touchscreen, a motion sensor, a 3.2-megapixel camera and a 3.5mm audio jack — all par for the Android course.

However, the Galaxy Portal i5700's real claim to fame is its augmented-reality browser, called Layar.

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2 of 4 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

Layar is a free download for any Android smartphone, but it's easily lost among the thousands of apps in the Android Market, so many people may be unaware of it. However, it's preloaded on the Galaxy Portal i5700; also, some of the Layar content provided on the i5700 is exclusive.

Layar is also available on the iPhone App Store.

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3 of 4 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

Layar uses the smartphone's GPS, compass and camera to map services (layers) to your location. Hold the handset up and Layar overlays data onto the phone camera's view of the world around you.

You can find out precisely where various services are located, how far away they are, get contact details, place phone calls and get reviews.

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4 of 4 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

Samsung has partnered with a number of data providers whose services populate Layar on the i5700 right out of the box.

There are two exclusive services: Lastminute.com offers a restaurant finder, guide and booking services, while Nestoria Property Search offers nationwide coverage with over 800,000 properties available to be viewed at any one time

Other preloaded services include: thetrainline.com for directions to the nearest rail station; Barclaycard for local Barclays ATMs and shops accepting contactless payments; Samsung Local Search for reviews of shops, restaurants, cafes, theatres, museums, gigs and more; Samsung Hotel Search (powered by Hotels.com) for directions to local hotels; and Samsung Football Pub Finder.

The Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 is available exclusively from T-Mobile.

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