Google today announced, via their VR channels, a new player on the virtual reality game, or at least augmented reality, ARCore! Now, before you get as confused as most Google followers will be, this isn’t the same as Google Tango, which the company was barely talking about at this years Google I/O, this is an AR approach which will be available on more or less all current and future Android devices.
It’s ironic that it is Apple who look like the ones who’ve upset Google in the AR game, but that’s pretty much the only logical take away from this. Unlike Tango, which was Android’s prior AR solution, ARKit naturally runs on any iOS device with a Camera, compass, motion co-processor and gyroscope, this includes all iPhone models introduced after and including the 6S, as well as iPads, much more devices than what could run Google’s Tango project, 3.
ARCore even sounds like ARKit, and both share very similar to same attributes, both require a device with a decent Camera, motion co-processor and gyroscope, for tracking and accuracy, and both are developer frameworks which any developer can integrate and use. Based on Apple being first to the game with the ARKit framework, we expect more apps will likely arrive on iOS 11 first taking advantage of AR in this way, though based on the AR frameworks of ARCore, we’d expect porting would be rather simple.
It’s a shame that it took Google this long to realise that Tango was never going to gain mainstream success, or maybe they did, regardless the implications will be pretty big in terms of Android in the AR field. Quite a number of developers have worked and invested in Google Tango, so it will be interesting to see what the future of their creations has. We’d hope the applications we saw with Google Tango, which by the way were incredible, would be able to run under ARCore technologies, otherwise Google’s about to face some pretty annoyed developer hate.
We imagine both Lenovo and, most recently, ASUS, likely feel a bit cheated about Tango’s demise as well as they released full on dedicated hardware for the platform, though the silver lining will be those devices too will be able to use ARCore, but still a pretty rough move from Google.
Which will be better? ARKit vs ARCore
The interesting thing about what we know about both ARKit and ARCore, from developers who’ve had chance to check out the SDK, is they are near on identical in possibilities at the moment, which naturally means the best choice is the one with the apps and services actively ready, and it’s a pretty safe bet Apple will likely get the big titles first.
We’ve seen a collection of ARKit videos demonstrating the possibilities, and we’re expecting very recognisable ARCore videos to come soon as well. We’re just glad at least Android isn’t being entirely left behind when it comes to major advancements in AR… well, unless it was Oreo exclusive then it might as well be initially, but ARCore will be compatible with Nougat as well!
Video provided by Google VR on YouTube.