But Tango-capable devices require fancy hardware, like a depth sensor, and there are few phones out there that support it, so it hasn't become widely used.
Not to be outdone by Apple, Google on Tuesday announced its own augmented reality ambitions for Android. What is different about ARCore (compared to other AR development tools), is that ARCore looks to bring AR functionality to a vast number of Android smartphones, quickly. And Google is calling it, quite amusingly, ARCore.
The SDK works with the Java/OpenGL, Unity and Unreal software engines and, like Tango, uses information provided by the device's sensors to accurately position virtual objects on the screen, without requiring the use of Global Positioning System signals or other externally provided data.
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Google has released a preview of a new software development kit (SDK) for augmented reality (AR) in a step aimed at broadening the range of devices that can use the technology, which combines virtual objects with a real environment viewed on a device's screen.
Furthermore, ARCore will work with Unity, Unreal, and Java/OpenGL for motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation. "Developers who have already developed on the Tango platform can use that experience to help them create on the ARCore platform.", says Android Engineering VP Dave Burke in today's blog post. Augmented Reality, in general, is progressing every day with apps like Holo and Pokemon Go.
Powering millions of devices, Android will have one of the most prominent impacts in making Augmented Reality truly mainstream.
Google says ARCOre stems from its work on Tango. The company is now focusing on ARcore. And with developers able to begin experimenting right now, expect to see plenty of nitpicking between the pair and even more creative AR exploits showing up on your Twitter feed. 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. These will allow for a phone's camera to detect feature points in a room, detect horizontal surfaces where AR objects can be placed and interpret lighting conditions so virtual objects can be correctly lit. However, like every other software framework, Google ARCore's success also comes down to how well it is received by developers.