Update – Feb. 25: As part of its Samsung Unpacked press event at MWC 2018, the company confirmed that its newly announced Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus phones will support Google’s ARCore platform. That means those phones will be able to run augmented reality apps developed with the the ARCore SDK. That also means those apps will have an even larger audience.
Original story – Feb. 23: Augmented reality (AR) has some incredibly exciting potential applications and Google is betting big on the prospect of people using their phones to virtually interact with the world around them.
Today, Google announced that ARCore — the Android SDK that lets developers create AR apps — has left the preview stage and jumped into its first public stage, ARCore 1.0. Apps developed on ARCore work on 100 million Android phones, and advanced AR is available on 13 different models for now (the entire Pixel line; the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8; the LG V30 and V30 Plus; the ASUS Zenfone AR; and the OnePlus 5). More phones with advanced AR capabilities are coming soon, as Google is working closely with manufacturers to bring AR to everyone.
As you can imagine, this means plenty of new AR experiences will begin rolling out in the not too distant future. In fact, several major brands have apps based on the ARCore SDK, including Porsche, whose Mission E Concept app puts a virtual Porsche that you can walk around and even look inside in your driveway. Perhaps AR’s most exciting realm is gaming. 2016’s AR game Pokémon GO was a major sensation, and other apps are hoping for that level of adoption. A Ghostbusters-branded game enables you to snare Slimer with your proton pack and is just one example of the kind of experiences we can expect down the pipe.
Google is also pushing its Google Lens platform, a different type of AR experience. While ARCore enables developers to create artificial images in real-world environments, Lens can give users information about real-world environments simply by looking at it. Lens allows for things like taking a photo of a dog you met in a park to find out its breed, or taking a picture of someone’s business card and automatically creating a new contact for that person on your phone.
ARCore and Lens will both have a presence at Mobile World Congress 2018, which officially begins on Monday. We will no doubt have more information as well as some hands-on demos to share with you then!