ARCore 1.0 makes AR development faster and easier; launching soon on more devices.
Google’s ARCore is getting an update that brings improved environmental understanding and lets developers now publish AR apps to the Play Store. Launching at Mobile World Congress next week, ARCore 1.0 is out of preview and comes with a ton of new support for developers.
Revealed in August, ARCore enables developers to build apps that can understand your environment and place objects and information in it. The augmented reality SDK currently works on 13 different devices right now (Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL; Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, Note8, S7 and S7 edge; LGE’s V30 and V30+ (Android O only); ASUS’s Zenfone AR; and OnePlus’s OnePlus 5). That’s roughly 100 million Android smartphones that have advanced AR capabilities today.
Now Google is going beyond what’s already available, announcing further partnerships with manufacturers to enable their upcoming devices this year, including Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, ASUS, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo. Even China will have more access to AR. Google will be supporting ARCore in China on partner devices sold there—starting with Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung—to enable them to distribute AR apps through their app stores.
Aside from new device support, improved “environmental understanding” for ARCore 1.0 “enables users to place virtual assets on textured surfaces like posters, furniture, toy boxes, books, cans and more,” according Anuj Gosalia, Director of Engineering, AR at Google. Android Studio Beta now also supports ARCore in the Emulator, so you can quickly test your app in a virtual environment right from your desktop.
New Immersive Content
On top SDK updates, Google has also partnered with a few developers to showcase how they’re planning to use AR in their apps. One partner includes Sotheby’s International Reality, letting you visualize different room interiors inside your home. Another app from Porsche lets you see their Mission E Concept vehicle right in your driveway, and explore how it works. OTTO AR lets you choose pieces from an exclusive set of furniture and place them, true to scale, in a room. In China, you can even place furniture and over 100,000 other pieces with Easyhome Homestyler, see whether a refrigerator has the right features and fits in a designated space with an app from JD.com, or play games from NetEase.
Google also teased us with an exclusive Ghostbusters World ARCore app. Based on the film franchise, the coming experience will have you firing a particle beam out of your Proton Pack to vacuum up Slimer.
There’s also a pretty serious collaboration between Snapchat and FC Barcelona that invites you into a “portal”—in this case, FC Barcelona’s legendary Camp Nou stadium. Letting anyone experience what it’s like to be on the field at the legendary Camp Nou, the immersive experience combines Snapchat’s core technology with Google ARCore.
It’s as simple as walking towards the “entrance” of the portal. Once “inside”, you can physically walk around to explore the field while also moving your phone around to see what’s all around. ARCore together with Snap’s Lens engine enables this 6DOF experience. This demo version will be shown at MWC and will then be made broadly available to all Snapchatters globally mid-March.
“The Snapchat community sees our camera an entry point to exploration, and we’re thrilled to be working with partners like Google to push our Lens product even further forward with the latest technologies available and bring to life a perspective that fans may never otherwise experience or explore,” said Eitan Pilipski, VP Camera Platform at Snap Inc.
In addition to ARCore updates, Google teased expanded availability of their Google Lens, which lets your phone’s camera understand the world around you. With Lens in Google Photos, when you take a picture, you can get more information about what’s in your photo. Lens will roll out to all Google Photos English-language users with the latest version of the app on Android and iOS 9 and newer. Also over the coming weeks, English-language users on compatible flagship devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony, and HMD/Nokia will get the camera-based Lens experience within the Google Assistant.