Google launches ARCore, it's augmented reality for Android devices

Geronimo Vena
Agosto 29, 2017

ARCore uses the ambient light sensor on the phone to give developers more information for things like dynamic lighting and shading, so the shadows cast by the AR object should line up with the lighting in the room and the character will appear to be lit by the light in your area. Not only new and upcoming Android phones, but also a wide number of Android phones already on the market.

One of Apple's more notable announcements during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference this year was ARKit, which allows augmented reality apps to not only run on iOS devices, but also do so without the need for folks to pick up additional hardware.

ARCore games and apps will use an Android phone's camera to determine the position and movement of the phone itself within a real-world environment. By the same token ARCore is just as capable at understanding and incorporating vertical data.

With ARCore, Google says it is focussing on three things: motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation.

The preview of the technology is being made available from today for Google's own Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8, as long as they are running at least the Nougat version of Android.

Google said it wants the platform to be compatible with 100 million devices by the end of the SDK preview, and said it's working with Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and other manufacturers. "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".

That's a bit of a problem when Apple is about to bring smartphone AR to hundreds of millions of devices when it launches ARKit on iOS 11, likely in a couple weeks.

However, Google already has a developer platform for this called "Tango". (There are now over 2 billion Android devices). ARCore works with Java/OpenGL, Unity, and Unreal Engine. That latter point is what pundits have pointed to as a possible tipping point in augmented reality adoption, one that Google hopes to do the same for Android users with ARCore.

In that vein, the company has set up a new AR Experiments showcase "where you can find some fun examples of what's possible".

"ARCore is a foundational layer which provides similar capabilities, but it works across the Android ecosystem", a Google spokesperson told Mashable.

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