Google jumped into the AR platform way before Apple in 2014 with its Tango AR platform. However, that platform failed to take off despite Google working closely with partners on devices and platform. Today, the company is unveiling its latest efforts in the augmented reality department called “ARCore.”
Similar to Apple’s ARKit, ARCore will work on existing Android devices and will not require any advanced sensors or cameras to work properly. Initially, ARCore will be compatible with the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and the Samsung Galaxy S8. Support for more devices from other OEMs is currently in the works and should be available soon.
We’ve been developing the fundamental technologies that power mobile AR over the last three years with Tango, and ARCore is built on that work. But, it works without any additional hardware, which means it can scale across the Android ecosystem.
ARCore apps and games will make use of a phone’s camera to determine the environment around them, their position, movement etc. ARCore works with Java/OpenGL, Unity and Unreal and features motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation. So, when the first ARCore apps drop for Android, they are going to be based around these three aspects.
Google is hoping to support 100 million devices by the end of the preview, though the company failed to mention when exactly the preview period will end. As a part of the preview, Google is releasing a preview SDK of ARCore for developers.
With the release of iOS 11 next month, augmented reality in apps and games is going to take off in a big way. The first look at apps and games powered by ARKit look pretty amazing as well. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Google jumped on the AR bandwagon once again despite its previously failed Tango attempt. Now only time will tell which company’s AR implementation is better: Apple or Google.