Back in August of this year Google announced the release of a new developer tool, ARCore. What was interesting about ARCore is how this is Google’s envisioning of how augmented reality (AR) related features can be brought to a wider number of Android users. Specifically, as ARCore does not rely on the use of ‘special hardware’ it has the potential to make AR available to existing Android phones that were previously not AR-ready. Which is the exact end goal Google is hoping to achieve with ARCore.
As August saw the initial release of the developer version of the platform, it should be expected that never developer versions would come through in due course. Which is exactly what has now happened with Google today announcing the release of the second develop preview (2.0). The announcement post on this explains this version builds on the features of the last while also including various improvements to the accuracy and runtime of its associated APIs, in addition to also including a new C API specific to the Android NDK. Furthermore, the new version now allows developers to include pause functionality within AR apps. Something that means if an AR app user is engaging with an AR element and leaves the app for whatever reason, they will be able to return to the same session and carry on as if there was no break in the first place. Google also took the opportunity to announce that consumers can expect to see the first user-ready version of ARCore (v1.0) to arrive “in the coming months” and when it does, it will land “with support for over 100 million devices.”
As part of the announcement, Google also confirmed that it was effectively now ending support for its Tango platform. This was Google’s first proper attempt at an end user AR-based platform and the difference between Tango and ARCore is best summed up by Tango's dependence on more substantial and resource-demanding hardware. Which is likely one of the reasons Google is now ending support for Tango. As ARCore is not only lighter in its approach, but also more capable of reaching a significantly greater number of devices in the long-term. Not to mention, it is built on many of the same technologies as Tango and therefore is more of a natural evolution of Tango. Since the initial announcement early today, Google (via its official Tango social media channels) has now confirmed support will end in March of 2018 as Google moves towards rolling out ARCore to the masses. More information on ARCore, as well as the option to download the latest developer preview, available though the link below.