ARCore is built on the AR work that Google has done over the past three years with its Tango platform – but works without any additional hardware, allowing it to scale “across the Android ecosystem”.
“ARCore will run on millions of devices, starting today with the Pixel and Samsung’s S8, running 7.0 Nougat and above,” said vice-president of Android engineering, Dave Burke.
“We’re targeting 100 million devices at the end of the preview. 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.”
Google said that ARCore will focus on three things: motion tracking using the phone’s camera to observe feature points in the room; environmental understanding, including the detection of horizontal surfaces; and light estimation that gauges the ambient light in the environment so that developers can light virtual objects to match their surroundings.
“We think the web will be a critical component of the future of AR, so we’re also releasing prototype browsers for web developers so they can start experimenting with AR, too,” said Burke.
“These custom browsers allow developers to create AR-enhanced websites and run them on both Android/ARCore and iOS/ARKit.”
The launch of ARCore comes after Apple announced in June the launch of ARKit, allowing developers to build AR experiences for iPhones and iPads.