Android ARCore: You may well have heard by now that Google has announced a development platform that will lead to the emergence of augmented reality via smartphones. An update on Tango, and for all intents and purposes the same thing as Apple’s far more publicized ARKit, ARCore will work with millions of Android-based devices right off the bat. Here are five things you need to know about it.
1 – You Need Android 7.0 Nougat Or Better
These are the devices with which ARCore is compatible, and thus the devices on which users will be able to enjoy augmented reality experiences. A recent updated to Nougat came complete with a list of which phones got it already, which doubles as a fairly comprehensive guide to the popular devices that can already host ARCore apps. But particularly if you have an older device or don’t update your software regularly, keep in mind that you’ll need Android 7.0 Nougat or better to get in on the action.
2 – It Works With Existing Design Systems
If you care about the underlying design systems, you may want to recognize that ARCore isn’t really a language for the creation of apps unto itself. Rather, Google has a surprisingly complete AR setup whereby developers who work with the Unity and Unreal engines, Java, or OpenGL will now be able to use the skills they already have to produce AR apps. These are the engines and design foundations with which ARCore is compatible. From a user’s perspective, that means you’ll be seeing some familiar experiences and even apps designed by the same people and companies who make ordinary mobile apps, only the experiences will be updated and adapted to AR.
3 – It’s Basically Pokémon GO
You certainly remember Pokémon GO. Upon its release in 2016 it became one of the most popular mobile games of all time – and as we have pointed out before, it was actually an augmented reality game, before AR was really a thing! This is why for anyone struggling to grasp what AR on a phone means, Pokémon GO is the best example out there. It functions as a sort of less sophisticated version of what new AR programs will be able to do, making it look as if digital characters and objects really exist, and are being viewed through a phone’s camera.
4 – Puzzles & Table Games Are Coming
With Pokémon GO leading the way, games will be the most popular apps produced with ARCore, and we have an idea of which kinds of games will emerge first. Puzzles certainly come to mind, not least because Apple’s ARKit has already introduced some intriguing 3D puzzle games. Table games seem likely to emerge quickly as well. A major developer has already teased virtual casino content that could help players to be transported into the world of their chosen game. That alone opens up a lot of table games, from poker to blackjack to roulette. And casino play aside, board games and other strategy experiences could follow. These kinds of apps will populate AR categories in mobile stores first.
5 – There Are Practical Uses
Despite the focus on games, which is only natural, there are also practical uses for augmented reality on our mobile phones. The notion that we might observe and digitally try on clothing through AR is spreading like wildfire online; educational apps for young children and advanced students alike are already being teased; and perhaps overshadowing everything else, furniture and design apps, at least in ARKit, are already generating some very positive reviews and discussions. In other words, ARCore is not just going to be about entertainment.