31 August, 2017
If we have a peek at Google's AR Experiments collection, at first it seems like ARCore is the only software kit used by each chosen developer. For now, it will work on the Pixel and Samsung's Galaxy S8, provided they are running Android 7.0 Nougat and above.
Apple and Google are preparing to go head-to-head with their development of competing Augmented Reality (AR) platforms. Google is also working with developers to rollout AR-friendly websites and prototype browsers have been released so that developers can experiment and port their sites to this new platform. Google already makes AR software called Tango that debuted on one Lenovo smartphone a year ago and will be part of another high-end device from Asus this month. In order to make their AR system famous, they would have to ask their phone makers to use certain parts because it may be impossible for them to account for a variety of Android phone cameras. ARcore also leverages three similar technologies to understand your phone's surroundings, including motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation. Google also says it's working with all major Android phone manufacturers to bring ARCore to existing and future devices. Whether Google planned this before Apple's ARKit was revealed is irrelevant - because begun, this AR war has.
Google states: "ARCore's understanding of the real world lets you place objects, annotations, or other information in a way that integrates seamlessly with the real world".
Basically, it won't be as good as Tango devices in terms of superimposing AR images over the real-world, but it's a lot more accessible. "We believe the accessibility of Augmented Reality presents a unique opportunity to reach a massive global audience through innovative applications and new possibilities for content delivery".
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The teams behind the new framework include Android and the VR group within the tech giant, who is responsible for the development of Daydream VR, some of its apps and its dedicated headset.
But will your Android device support ARCore apps? These will allow for a phone's camera to detect feature points in a room, detect horizontal surfaces where AR objects can be placed and interpret lighting conditions so virtual objects can be correctly lit.
Not to be beaten to the punch by rival Apple, Google has announced its own AR functionality for Android.
Look for more details "later this year".