Google is aiming to get more augmented reality (AR) on Android mobile phones and released a mobile developer tool on Tuesday (Aug. 29) to meet that end.
In a blog post announcing the news, Dave Burke, VP of Android engineering at Alphabet-owned Google, said the company has been developing the technologies to run mobile AR over the last three years via Tango and that ARCore builds off those efforts, but works with any hardware.
“ARCore will run on millions of devices, starting today (Aug. 29) 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. We’re working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and others to make this possible with a consistent bar for quality and high performance,” Burke wrote.
The Google AR/VR software aids mobile apps and websites in tracking and overlaying physical objects in virtual worlds.
Burke noted that in addition to developing ARCore through Tango, Alphabet-owned Google has been investing in apps and services to help developers create AR experiences. The engineer pointed to Google Blocks and Tilt Brush as two AR apps that anyone can use to create 3D content. Blocks is a free app which works on the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive VR headsets and is reportedly intuitive enough that it’s easy for newbies but also has enough features to make complex models. The objects can also be exported to be viewed online, or they can be placed in 3D scenes in both virtual reality worlds and outside them. Tilt Brush is a 3D painting tool.
The company is also working on a Visual Positioning Service, which will enable AR experiences beyond a tabletop and is also releasing a prototype browser for web developers so they can also experiment with AR. The custom browsers let developers create AR-enhanced websites, he said.
“ARCore is our next step in bringing AR to everyone, and we’ll have more to share later this year,” Burke added in the blog post.