From my inbox, Metaio is one of a growing number of “augmented solutions” vendors, experimenting in the realm of augmented reality. You can really think of this as a cluster of technologies for computer vision, Web-connected data, and 3D mapping. Metaio here touts that solution on the eve of the Mobile World Congress, as it comes to platforms like iOS and Android.

The top video shows well how it works, once you get past the most boring idea for an augmented reality demo ever. (Really? I couldn’t just, like, type the printer model in or something?) With the actual markers, though, it’s pretty darned impressive. The ability to take this tech mobile and markerless is what moves it beyond bizarre marketing gimmick (here, hold up this mailer to a computer and watch a Flash animation) to genuine utility (now, let your phone understand the world around you).

Here’s the other big hook: dual-core chips. As tablets and phones go to dual-core CPUs, doing the processing necessary for these applications becomes more practical. Better integrated GPUs (hello, Tegra) should make a big difference, too. So, yes, currently a lot of augmented reality apps are sluggish to run, and the leading tablet, the iPad, is cameraless and a little underpowered. But you can expect that to change soon.

And once the development tools get into the hands of smart artists, we should go from “hey, where’d I leave my manual” to “holy s***, that’s awesome.”

I just wish I were in Barcelona right now. Maybe not at a trade show. That’s just my fantasy of my reality, though, not my augmented present reality.