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31 August 2017, 01:22 | Antoinette Holland
Google launches ARCore SDK in preview: AR on Android phones, no extra hardware required
A number of companies are exploring AR, including Apple, whose iOS11 allows developers to use new APIs and kits to develop AR apps. By putting real AR in the hands of millions of users (not just Pokemon Go), Google will put the platform on fast forward, and it won't be long before it's more than just a parlor trick.
Google and Apple will jockey for the attention of customers and software developers who will build the games, walking guides and other applications that would make AR a compelling feature. 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. Hence, with ARCore, Google changed course to work on phones without depth sensors.
Until now, it seemed as though Google didn't have an answer to Apple. ARCore will obviously require that the device will need a camera of some sort, and some functionality will require certain sensors - like a light sensor for light estimation.
"Fundamentally, ARCore is doing two things: tracking the position of the mobile device as it moves, and building its own understanding of the real world", Googlesaid. ARCore is expected to eventually run on "millions of devices". These will allow for a phone's camera to detect feature points in a room, detect horizontal surfaces where AR objects can be placed and interpret lighting conditions so virtual objects can be correctly lit. Google's blogpost explains that ARCore is a software development kit (SDK) for developers and it will provide them with a range of tools, APIs, etc to help deliver the AR experience on their apps for Android smartphones. AR, to give a condensed explanation, stands for augmented reality - immersive computing that layers virtual elements onto the real world. The company will have more to share about ARCore later this year.
As you might've guessed, ARCore is Android's version of Apple ARKit.
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As TechCrunch points out, Google has had excellent AR technologies for some time, but they have been beyond the reach of actual consumers.
Augmented Reality (AR) as an endeavour is set to explode on to the scene following initial successes, most notably the release of Pokémon Go past year that led people to go to some extreme places with their phones to catch a digital creature.
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