Google Launches ARCore Software Development Kit

March 14, 2018 - 3 minutes read

2018 is going to be a big year for augmented reality (AR). With the release of the Magic Leap’s much-anticipated AR goggles and the possibility of lasers for AR in Apple’s next iPhone, there is a lot to look forward to. And with Google’s newest announcement, AR developers and beginners alike can jump into the Android game.

Android’s AR Toolkit

Google plans to release their mobile AR platform, ARCore, to more than 10 different Android devices; Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL are a given. But the company also added support for Samsung S8, S8+, Note 8, S7, and S7 Edge. Some less popular phones include: LGE’s V30, ASUS Zenfone AR, and the OnePlus 5. Google claims this amounts to over 100 million phones.

The ARCore tool adds new features to your Android’s capabilities, like the ability to put virtual objects on textured planes, or surfaces. The Android Studio’s Emulator also supports the ARCore software development kit (SDK) now, so Android AR app development will be a breeze for developers and enthusiasts from London to Los Angeles.

The three core areas of ARCore are motion tracking, surface detection, and light estimation, similar to Apple’s ARKit. Apple’s ARKit is more advanced — it’s on version 1.5 now and comes with the ability to put objects on vertical surfaces and mix 2D graphics with AR scenes — but we’ll see how long that lasts with Google becoming competition.

The SDK has been under preview at Google for several months, with no known release date until now.

Android’s Second Attempt at AR

With the release of the ARCore SDK, Google’s no longer updating or actively maintaining Tango; Tango was the company’s first attempt to bring AR to Android. But the major improvement ARCore makes over Tango is its lack of requirement of specialized hardware. This allows more devices and developers to leverage AR on Android.

While Google’s only supporting 10 devices right now, they mentioned their plans to partner with many mobile phone manufacturers to enable the integration of ARCore into upcoming devices. Expected partnerships include Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, ASUS, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo. Xiaomi confirmed their phones will ship with ARCore in order to support AR experiences in games, interior design, and other areas of every-day life.

Get It and Go!

If you have an approved device from the list above, run Android 7.0, and are interested in playing around with the ARCore SDK, you can download the files from GitHub. The package includes a few samples of ARCore apps and a C header file.

With tech companies like Google and Apple trying to streamline the process, it’s a very exciting time to get into AR development right now. We can’t wait to see what new innovations arise out of this in the near future!

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