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August 30, 2017

Google plans to bring AR to 100 million Android phones

Google's answer to Apple's ARKit.

By April Slattery

Google is planning to roll out its ARCore software development kit to bring Augmented Reality (AR) to 100 million Android phones.

The Silicon Valley Company said it will release a preview of the new software kit today.

The platform will work by bringing AR capabilities to existing and future Android devices, which developers can begin testing straight away.

David Burke, VP Android Engineering, said: “It works without any additional hardware, which means it can scale across the Android ecosystem. ARCore will run on millions of devices, starting today with the Pixel and Samsung’s S8, running 7.0 Nougat and above. We’re targeting 100 million devices at the end of the preview.”

Manufacturers to work alongside Google to build and use the ARCore platform include Samsung, Huawei, LG and ASUS to build the platform. AR works without any additional hardware meaning Google can scale the platform across the Android ecosystem.

Google plans to bring AR to 100m Android phones

ARCore demonstrated by Google.
Credit: Google VR

ARCore works by taking into account the lighting, environment and position of the phone. Motion tracking and feature point observation allows ARCore to identify how the phone is being held, with the same feature points used to assess the environment and light.

ARCore pinpoints where different objects are, such as a table, and how virtual objects can be placed within that area. ARCore then assesses the environment to match the lighting with the objects to make it look like they’re really there. Developers are able to light virtual objects in ways that match their surroundings, making their appearance even more realistic.

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Google’s AR push looks to put the pressure on rival Apple, with the iPhone maker recently announcing its own software dev kit, ARKit, on  iOS 11. The roll-out of ARKit may have been a major factor in pushing Google to develop AR for its own devices.

Read More: Google Cloud Vision gives Box customers a machine learning edge

In the announcement Google said: “ARCore is our next step in bringing AR to everyone, and we’ll have more to share later this year.”

The Pixel and Samsung S8 will be the first to be enhanced with ARCore, according to Google. Alongside ARCore Google is developing its own apps to create 3D content to better the AR experience for users.

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