Google Announces Its New AR Platform, ARCore

Google recently released a preview of its new AR platform, ARCore.  ARCore will soon be available on 100 million existing and upcoming Android devices.

Google Announces Its New AR Platform, ARCore

Google recently announced the launch of its new augmented reality platform, ARCore.  This platform will be available for developers to use in order to develop augmented reality apps and games for the millions of existing Android phones out there today.

What is AR Technology

AR refers to augmented reality technology, and this has been around in some shape or form for a few years now, although it is only in recent years that major tech companies have been seen to have been embracing it, and this has helped to merge AR technology into mainstream public.  

Augmented reality differs from virtual reality in that virtual reality completely submerges you into a virtual reality different from the world around you, whereas augmented reality adds virtual digital objects to your already existing immediate environment. This means you can play mobile pokies with games overlayed on your existing environment, rather than in an entirely new environment all together.

ARCore Versus Tango

ARCore comes after Tango, which was Google’s first augmented reality platform.  Tango, although more powerful than ARCore, is more limiting as it requires specialized hardware in order to work for example multiple cameras on the device.  Google released a couple of Tango devices which were able to run the Tango platform, but these never really made their way into mainstream public.  

ARCore Versus ARKit

ARCore is in direct competition to Apple’s ARKit, which is Apple’s AR platform offering.  Despite the fact that Google has been developing AR tech for some time now, ARCore is clearly Google’s answer to ARKit.

How Does Google’s ARCore Work?

ARCore is not as powerful as Tango, but it is way more accessible and will work on millions of existing Android phones.  It has 3 elements starting with environmental understanding.  This uses your phone’s camera to detect surfaces.  Motion tracking – using internal sensors and video, the motion tracking element allows users to pin items, and move around about them.  Lastly light estimation – this helps the virtual items have precise shadows, making them fit into the real-life environment more realistically.  

Developers Using ARCore

People are asking if developers are obliged to use ARCore if they want to develop AR apps for Android going forward.  The answer to this is no – as developers have been creating AR apps without this new platform in the past already.  ARCore will simply make it easier for developers to add the additional experience of AR into their apps.  

ARCore will make bring augmented reality app development into a more mainstream development as well.  Whilst experienced developers will remain loyal to the existing tools of the trade like Java/OpenGL, Unreal and Unity, newer developers to 3D design will be able to export ARCore pictures directly from Google’s Blocks modelling tool or Tilt Brush VR app.

Devices Supporting ARCore

At the moment, ARCore will work on Google Pixel phones as well as Samsung Galaxy S8 phones, but Google has assured us that ARCore is set to be compatible with 100 million existing and upcoming android devices including ones from brands like from Huawei, LG, and Asus. With AR and VR changing the way we do just about everything, the availability of this tech across devices will make it all the more appealing.

Official ARCore Launch

Google recently release a preview of ARCore, but it’s full release is set for the end of this year.