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article imageGoogle's ARCore is out of beta, works with 13 phones

By James Walker     Feb 26, 2018 in Technology
Google has released version 1.0 of its ARCore augmented reality platform. Intended to rival Apple's ARKit, ARCore is currently supported on just 13 Android devices. Google claims over 100 million people globally own one of the compatible handsets.
ARCore has been in preview for a while as Google's been refining the platform and testing it with developers. The milestone 1.0 release means it's now suitable for public consumption on millions of Android phones around the world. The update comes with several new improvements to accelerate development of AR apps.
According to Google, ARCore now has more accurate environmental understanding. This allows developers to position 3D objects on a wider selection of real-world objects, breaking away from floors and tables. Google claims cans, posters, furniture and books can now host AR objects. The company's also published an example that shows a snow-covered tree branch being used in a scene.
Google's partnered with several developers to build showcase demonstrations of ARCore's capabilities. In an attempt to increase adoption amongst app creators and consumers, it's brought Snapchat, OTTO AR, Ghostbusters World and retailers Easyhome Homestyler and JD.com onboard. The experiences offered by each app will vary but they generally expand on existing content by letting you visualise it in your surroundings.
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"We've partnered with a few great developers to showcase how they're planning to use AR in their apps. Snapchat has created an immersive experience that invites you into a "portal" – in this case, FC Barcelona's legendary Camp Nou stadium," said Google.
"Visualize different room interiors inside your home with Sotheby's International Reality. See Porsche's Mission E Concept vehicle right in your driveway, and explore how it works. With OTTO AR, choose pieces from an exclusive set of furniture and place them, true to scale, in a room."
Android users can now access these apps on compatible devices. At launch, Google's Pixel family and the ASUS Zenfone AR, OnePlus 5, LG V30, LG V30+ and a handful of recent Samsung phones will be the only handsets to support ARCore. Google said more devices will be launched this year, including options from at least 10 popular vendors.
Even with these upcoming additions, ARCore's going to be limited to a tiny subset of new Android phones for the foreseeable future. Unlike Apple's ARKit, which received a highly prominent launch alongside a major operating system update, ARCore is going to be trickled out slowly with its adoption growing as users upgrade. The platform will now be rolled out gradually to supporting phones, with AR apps appearing in the Play Store once it's available.
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