12 January 2018
In recent times, we have a sudden spike in interest among tech companies about augmented reality (AR) technology. It was the center of many discussions but received a huge boost when Apple announced ARKit for all iPhone users which would offer AR benefits without requiring users to go for a specific hardware. Learning from the same approach, Google has now announced ARCore software development kit (SDK) with a goal of bringing AR to millions of Android devices around the world.
With the availability of ARCore, users will not have to worry about owning a specific device to enjoy AR content which was a restriction with previously launched Tango platform. Google assumed that it will find many hardware partners interested in releasing Tango-enabled devices but as we know, there are only two such devices in the market: Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus ZenFone AR. This is where ARCore comes into the picture as it will eliminate the need of relying on a specific hardware for accessing AR. It should be noted that it does not mean Google has killed Tango completely. It has simply rebranded it and from now onwards, all Tango-enabled devices will be known as ARCore devices.
Google explained that ARCore will be focusing on three main areas: Motion tracking, Environmental understanding, and Light estimation. With the first thing, it will be detecting the phone's orientation and position even if it is moving which will help it in showing virtual objects accurately and at right places. The second area is aimed at identifying horizontal surfaces which is similar to the first area and is aimed at the accurate placement of virtual objects. And lastly, it will be identifying ambient light so that it can light virtual objects accordingly and make them appear more realistic.
As we said that ARCore will bring augmented reality to all Android devices, it will work with each existing and future device as long as it is running. At the moment, Google has made it available for Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 7.0 Nougat or higher. It will also be releasing "prototype browsers" for developers who might be interested in testing augmented reality. These browsers will basically make it possible for them to create AR-enhanced websites compatible with both ARCore and ARKit.