Mysterious Nokia Device & 9 Other Android Phones Now ARCore-Enabled

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By Daniel Golightly November 08, 2018, 8:05am
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No fewer than ten new devices are now officially supported by Google's mobile AR platform and developer tools, collectively known as ARCore, based on recently spotted changes to the ARCore Supported Devices page. That means those handsets are now certified by Google as having cameras, motion sensors, processors, and design architecture that's suitable to provide users with a smooth experience in apps built on the platform. Four of the newly listed handsets are Huawei-made, including that company's Honor 8X, Honor View 10 Lite, Mate 20X, and Porsche Design Mate 20 RS. Support is also now official for SM-J739 models of Samsung's Galaxy J7 (2017) and Galaxy J7 Pro, in addition to Sony's Xperia XZ3 and the recently launched Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. Finally, a new HMD Global-built handset listed under the model designation 'Nokia 8.1'.

Background: Several of the devices certified with support for ARCore are relatively unsurprising to see on the list, given how new they are and the recent trends from the OEMs themselves with regard to releasing compatible handsets. Bearing that in mind, the new Nokia-branded smartphone is an oddity since that device hasn't been seen in recent leaks or rumors and has not been announced or even made official. Following HMD Global's naming conventions for Nokia phones, the Nokia 8.1 is most likely a followup to the Nokia 8. That was the brand's $700 5.3-inch flagship, announced for 2018 near the end of 2017. The original Nokia 8 was driven by a Snapdragon 835 SoC backed by 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. That shipped running Android 7.1 via a 2560 x 1440 resolution panel and powered by a 3,090mAh battery.

Setting that unexpected inclusion on the list aside, there aren't many changes being brought to the updated ARCore application itself. For clarity, that's the app that underpins ARCore experiences on Android and other mobile platforms, allowing developers to build consistent experiences across an increasing number of smartphones. Beyond that, it is not only required to run augmented reality applications built using the ARCore platform's APIs and tools but also enhances some games that have incorporated its features, such as Pokemon Go. That means the handsets that are certified will almost certainly provide a better experience for users in even some of the most widespread applications compared to unsupported devices. In total, the changelog for the most recently updated software shows two improvements that aren't necessarily exciting but which should at least deliver an even better experience for users than before. Namely, that includes unspecified improvements to both performance and battery efficiency, as well as a reduction to the amount of on-device memory required by the app.

Impact: Following the addition of the new handsets, Android users who happen to own any of those handsets, or any of the others listed at the official ARCore Supported Devices page should be able to download the tool in and to run ARCore-based applications. As always, those devices shipped to the China region won't be able to directly access the tool due to restrictions on Google-made applications. However, those can still be downloaded directly from the Xiaomi apps store and Huawei Apps Gallery on those companies' respective devices.

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November 08, 2018, 8:05am
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