Google ARCore brings Augmented Reality to Android phones, without Project Tango

The preview allows creators to experiment across three development environments: Android Studio, Unity, and Unreal. It's also worth noting that Google's new AR platform only supports Samsung's Galaxy S8 and the Google Pixel, though the company has a goal of hitting 100 million users in the near future.

Google was first to market with an augmented reality-enabled smartphone with the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, which was designed around the Tango software. A continuation of Google's Tango AR computing platform, ARCore does not need any additional hardware to function, so all new devices running Android are ready to go.

Like ARKit the SDK will use the sensors in the phone (accelerometer and gyroscope) and the built-in camera to determine orientation, detect surfaces and even measure ambient light to aid in realistic object rendering. ARcore also leverages three similar technologies to understand your phone's surroundings, including motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation. The firm has also added an experiments with AR page showing what the technology can do.

We're in the early days, and the ARCore software development kit has only been released to developers. "It's easy to imagine how ARCore works with Blocks, creating 3D assets in VR and then bringing them to AR, or with VPS [Visual Positioning Service] to map and annotate indoor spaces like museums or stores with AR".

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Until now, it seemed as though Google didn't have an answer to Apple. And Google is pretty clear on the fact that ARCore isn't Tango. In other words, if you place a virtual object in the shade, it too will be dimmed by the shadow.

Today's launch is the next big step in Google's plan to bring AR capabilities to more devices. "ARCore will run on millions of devices".

In a video to promote ARCore, animated lions, tin-men and scarecrows are dropped into the real world via augmented reality.

Given the fact that there are way more Android users than iOS, it looks like ARCore may eclipse Apple's ARKit concerning user base.

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Eyeglasses, vehicle windshields and other surfaces which overlay digital information on the real world have been touted by industry leaders as becoming major players in the AR space in coming years.

'With more than two billion active devices, Android is the largest mobile platform in the world, Google said.

As such, Apple's AR offerings will be available across a broad range of devices - and although iOS 11 hasn't been released yet, demonstration apps have already been presented to potential consumers.

Google meanwhile is attempting to develop a system which would equally be capable of being installed on the 100 million devices that now run the Android operating system, but is behind Apple on creating something lightweight that could be run on older devices.

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  • Gina Adkins