The augmented reality platform for Android is here!

Developers can download the SDK now and start creating new AR experiences on Android. It will require Android 7.0 Nougat or above, which is why it's millions of devices, rather than over a billion.

Dave Burke, VP, Android Engineering, Google, said in a blog post: "We're working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and others to make this possible with a consistent bar for quality and high performance".

Phone-based augmented reality (AR), in which digital objects are superimposed onto the real world on screen, got a huge boost from the popularity of the Pokemon Go game that was launched in the United States in July past year.

ARCore builds on the Tango technology, Google explained.

This need to move away from technology limited by hardware could mean that Google will have the greatest number of potential users when officially launched, with more than 2bn active users of the operating system at the last count. Still, 100 million out of 2 billion is only 5 percent, so unless you have a flagship phone from the a year ago or so, don't hold your breath. In order to make their AR system famous, they would have to ask their phone makers to use certain parts because it may be impossible for them to account for a variety of Android phone cameras. Hence, with ARCore, Google changed course to work on phones without depth sensors. You see, while virtual reality immerses you into a space, replacing everything you see in a physical world, AR takes the world around you and adds virtual objects over it.

Environmental understanding allows the phone to detect the size and location of flat horizontal surfaces like the ground or a coffee table. That's why ARCore observes the ambient light and allows developers to light their virtual objects to match the surrounding environment.

"We've architected ARCore to be able to perceive a wide variety of sensors", Bavor said. Google didn't really hype them up either, possibly knowing ARCore was coming at full steam sooner rather than later.

Google is not holding back in terms of wooing developers. ARCore even supports browsers, so users can experience the technology from inside a browser.

Google ARCore brings Augmented Reality experience to all of Android. With the arrival of iOS 11, there will be a mass adoption of AR and ARCore is Google's answer to it.

ARCore is to Android as ARKit is to iOS.

That estimate assumes that Apple and its rivals will expand beyond AR software to high-tech glasses and other devices, such as Microsoft's HoloLens headset. Unveiling ARCore today is likely only the beginning - we'd expect updates and much more details in the months ahead as the preview progresses. With a platform built for all, AR could quickly become a new battleground for the two companies.

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