Google's ARCore will take on Apple in augmented reality

Just ahead of iOS 11’s launch, which will bring the much-anticipated ARKit to millions of iPhones, Google has slid in with the announcement of ARCore. 

This preview initiative rolls up the augmented reality learnings of Google Tango and will offer similar AR smarts to a much broader selection of Android devices soon, without requiring extra hardware. 

In terms of possible phones you’ll see it on, Google says it’s working with Samsung, Huawei, LG, Asus and more to get ARCore up and running. But as for how you’ll experience ARCore first, you’ll need to own the Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy S8.

How ARCore is and isn't different from Tango

Interestingly, this AR tech doesn’t require a multi-camera setup like Tango did. That unique, but costly tech was only found on two phones, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus ZenFone AR, and as such didn’t have a widespread reach. But Google hopes to reach 100 million devices with ARCore.

Like Tango, ARCore is able to capture environmental information with a phone’s camera to insert believable, interactive graphics and animations into the real world. 

However impressive the first demos of ARCore are, it’s all the more impressive that Google has figured out how to achieve similar results by only utilizing one camera instead of three modules seen in Tango devices.

We're in the early days, and the ARCore software development kit has only been released to developers. But with Unity and Unreal engine support baked in, it’s possible that we’ll begin to see some high-profile AR entries come onto the scene around the same time as Apple’s ARKit, which arrives when iOS 11 launches in just a few weeks.

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.