Google has announced a new SDK called ARCore to help bring augmented reality to millions of devices, just like Apple is planning to do with their ARKit in iOS 11.
Think of ARCore as a condensed version of Google Tango and will put the capabilities of Tango but in the hands of the everyday smartphone owner.
Both the Android and VR teams at Google are working on ARCore and the new SDK works with Java, OpenGL, Unity and Unreal. ARCore is based on three pillars: motion tracking, environmental understanding and light estimation. The SDK will be able to position and orient items, detect horizontal surfaces and observe ambient light.
Unlike Tango, ARCore can’t detect depth because most phones don’t have the sensors to emit IR signals. ARCore will also use Visual Positioning Service (VPS) to help enable, “world scale AR experiences well beyond a tabletop.” Essentially, it will be able to detect your position indoors and enable your phone to recognize your relative position to a room.
Right now, the Google Pixels and Galaxy S8 running Android 7.0 Nougat can try out ARCore. Google is working with manufacturers like Huawei, Asus, LG in addition to Samsung to bring ARCore to their devices.
Google has an ambitious target of adding ARCore support to 100 million devices. ARCore will likely have a hardware requirement in a similar fashion to Google’s Daydream VR but it may not be as intensive.
You can take a look at some of Google’s AR experiments here.