ARCore is the new AR developer platform announced from Google on August 29, 2017. By the time of its public launch, Google plans to have 100 million devices supported. ARCore is going to launch first on Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel, with additional smartphones to be announced closer to the release. Google is taking a page out of Apple’s playbook, which announced the release of their ARKit platform this summer.
Google has already been in smartphone AR platform development since 2014, with Tango. There have been some issues with this platform, however. Tango requires certain additional hardware and sensors that are not widespread in the market yet. Only a few Tango smartphones have been released so far, which includes the new powerhouse ASUS Zenfone AR (available now). Due to it’s required hardware, it has not been able to reach the millions of users instantly like ARKit and ARCore can. However, Google is utilizing the technology they have developed with Tango over the past 3 years.
Feel free to check out our article about the ASUS Zenfone AR to discover all the cool details.
ARCore & ARKit do not require any additional hardware and works on all existing android (ARCore) & iPhone (ARKit) devices, allowing this technology to be instantly brought to millions of existing users. Obviously Google has realized the strength in bringing the technology to the masses first.
Tango still has some great technology and a higher level of accuracy in AR. As a result, it can deliver additional features due to the technology involved, as opposed to ARCore or ARKit. They are a bit more limited, for example you are confined to the area/room you are in, and you are unable to move around your home and have objects stay in place.
As mentioned, ARCore does not require additional sensors like Tango (AR depth sensor for example), however it is recognized that this type of technology is emerging on smartphones. With this in mind, ARCore will be able to work seamlessly with them and the end result will be better with the additional sensor information.
Both ARCore and ARKit do feature environmental understanding (to detect surfaces such as tables), motion tracking (to accurately place objects) and light estimation (to light virtual objects so it is realistic to its surroundings). The end result is a solid AR experience. While this is not the best AR experience out there, it can be distributed easily to the public.
The ARCore is available to developers right now. ARKit is expected to launch in just a few weeks with the release of IOS 11.
The AR Platform wars are certainly being taken to the next level.
It is rumored that Google is also working on an AR internet experience for the future, and is testing with developers a prototype browser that will allow for an internet surfing experience that has AR features. Google reports that these types of browsers will run both ARCore and ARKit, covering both sides of the Android and Apple markets.
The focus Google has at the moment is to get developers excited and working creatively on ARCore, getting it available on as many smartphones as they can, and build on the technology of Tango in this new direction.