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Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) Unveils New Android AR Platform To Compete With Apple
31 August 2017, 01:25 | Dawn Berry
Google wants to get augmented reality on more phones with ARCore. Google
VP of Android Engineering Dave Burke attested to the ever-growing portfolio of AR-compatible software: "We built Blocks and Tilt Brush to make it easy for anyone to quickly create great 3D content for use in AR apps".
Back in 2014, Google introduced Project Tango - a mobile AR platform destined to enhance everyday life.
Google is planning to roll out its ARCore software development kit to bring Augmented Reality (AR) to 100 million Android phones.
ARCore is based on work that Google has done as part of the Tango project, which evolved out of its Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) group. When it's finally live this winter, it'll use your Android device's camera, processors, and motion sensors in order to serve up immersive interactions.
Working with Java, OpenGL, Unreal, and Unity, ARCore has three pillars upon which it creates augmented experiences in your smartphone: motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation.
Some will say that Google was engaged in AR development well ahead of Apple.
ARCore will support existing phones, including now Google's Pixel phones, and Samsung's S8 running 7.0 Nougat and above, with more devices being added over time.
Google says that by the end of the year it will have expanded ARCore to work with a string of other devices from the likes of Huawei, Asus and LG. "With ARCore, we're taking the next step towards that goal, and we're excited to be working together again to bring these new capabilities to developers large and small". One exciting element is called the Visual Positioning Service (VPS), which would enable world scale AR experiences "way beyond a tabletop".
Similarly to ARKit, ARCore does not need special cameras or sensors in order for it to work.
Google states: "ARCore's understanding of the real world lets you place objects, annotations, or other information in a way that integrates seamlessly with the real world. ARCore will run on millions of devices". ARCore and its ties to Android will undoubtedly be compared to Apple's ARKit and iOS, which we'll be hearing more about next month.
Google states that its AR will help a user open up a virtual portal to hidden worlds using any physical surface.
On the other hand, Apple's iOS 11 is close to its launch and being the first major AR endeavor post the success of Pokémon Go previous year, and therefore, will have a first go at marketing the technology. The custom browsers, rumored to also be compatible with Apple's ARKit, are now in prototype but will allow augmented reality content to be created and viewed on a website.
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