ARCore: Google reveals AR platform to bring tech to masses

ARCore: Google reveals AR platform to bring tech to masses

Lindsey Duncan
August 31, 2017

A number of companies are exploring AR, including Apple, whose iOS11 allows developers to use new APIs and kits to develop AR apps.

It's been over three years since Google's AR platform was announced, and we still only have two Tango-enabled smartphones available for purchase: the ASUS ZenFone AR and the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. The company is also working on bringing AR to the web browser, and eventually wants to allow developers to build AR experiences on the web that run on both Android and iOS, powered by both ARCore and ARKit. 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.

Environmental understanding using motion tracking to detect surfaces. With light estimation capabilities, developers can adjust lighting to make AR experiences seem more realistic.

Because of that, Google is also releasing "prototype browsers" so web developers can start working with AR. It is now available on the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8, but by the end of this year, Google promises to have ARCore running on more than 100 million Android devices worldwide. Google is testing ARCore on more phones and expects it to be running on 100 million handsets from Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Asus by the end of the preview period.

Users that used Tango development software in the past should switch to this newest build - essentially Tango's replacement. This comes after Apple has revealed their answer to AR with their ARKit. Unlike Tango, ARCore doesn't need special hardware or sensors and should work with most high-end modern cameras.

ARCore pinpoints where different objects are, such as a table, and how virtual objects can be placed within that area.

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As with both Tango and Daydream, however, device compatibility will be limited compared to the existing base of Android users (more than 1 billion).

Android is easily the largest mobile platform in the world far surpassing Windows Mobile with its scant 0.1% market share globally.

Google showed off the power of its platform and the remarkable possibilities of augmented reality in a promo video.

Unlike virtual reality, which completely blocks out the physical world, augmented reality overlays visuals and information onto a person's immediate surroundings - for example, when viewed through a smartphone or tablet screen.

Then in June, at its annual developers conference, Apple announced its own augmented reality platform, ARKit, with one key difference: unlike Project Tango, Apple's augmented reality apps could run on any recently made iPhone or iPad and beyond.