Following in the footsteps of Apple’s ARKit, Google has launched its first augmented-reality software development kit, called ARCore, to help developers start making cool stuff in AR.
Google’s foray into AR goes back to Project Tango, launched in 2014 that loaded a smartphone up with custom sensors. The new software, however, works on most recent Android phones and doesn’t require any special hardware. No dual-camera setup necessary nor any depth sensor.
The platform will turn millions of Android devices into advanced AR-enabled machines, similar to what will happen with iOS 11-enabled devices following the debut of Apple’s upcoming ARKit.
The ARCore SDK puts three new things in developers’ toolkits. It offers super-fine motion tracking, using the sensors in your phone and the camera to keep virtual objects anchored in place. It also detects tables, floors, rugs, and walls, so you can actually place things where they make sense. ARCore maps and matches the lighting wherever you are, which makes the AR objects look a little more like real things in the room.
Google noted in the release that it’s already been building 3D tools like Blocks and Tilt Brush so that developers can create AR content, which would fit in nicely with ARCore. The company has also been working on other AR tech, like a visual positioning service for world-scale AR experiences, and AR-compatible web browsers.
Starting today, developers can use ARCore on the Pixel and Samsung’s Galaxy S8, as long as they’re running Android 7.0 Nougat or above. Eventually, Google hopes for ARCore to run on millions more Android devices from manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG and ASUS.