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Google's new dev kit is bringing augmented reality to Android
8:16 am
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Augmented reality hype is ramping up. Snapchat and Instagram's filters let you become a cute fluffy animal and the world has fallen in love with Pokémon Go.
Not to be beaten to the punch by rival Apple, Google has announced its own AR functionality for Android. Dubbed ARCore, the system is a software development kit (SDK) that will allow anyone to bring AR features to current Android phones without the need for hardware updates.
The preview of the technology is being made available from today for Google's own Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8, as long as they are running at least the Nougat version of Android.
"We’re targeting 100 million devices at the end of the preview," Google wrote in a blog post. Further down the line, this will also include devices from LG, Asus, Huawei and more. The firm has also added an experiments with AR page showing what the technology can do.
Google says ARCOre stems from its work on Tango. When introduced in 2015, Tango let people with compatible devices create detailed 3D maps of the world by pointing a camera at an object. The Lenovo PHAB2 Pro was the first Tango phone to be released.
With ARCore, Google says it is focussing on three things: motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation. These will allow for a phone's camera to detect feature points in a room, detect horizontal surfaces where AR objects can be placed and interpret lighting conditions so virtual objects can be correctly lit. The code works with Java/OpenGL, Unity and Unreal.

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