It looks like Google will be pushing for Augmented Reality this year as they try to get more developers into creating apps and games using the tech. At the Mobile World Congress which starts in a few days, they will be launching the stable version of their augmented reality SDK for Android called ARCore 1.0 so that developers can create and publish AR apps to the Google Play Store. The Google Lens preview will also be expanding to Google Photos users and compatible flagship devices will get the camera-based Lens experience.
ARCore with its advanced AR capabilities can already work on 100 million Android smartphones and 13 different models, specifically the following: (Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL; Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, Note8, S7 and S7 edge; LGE’s V30 and V30+ (Android O only); ASUS’s Zenfone AR; and OnePlus’s OnePlus 5). OEMs this year will be releasing devices that will also have AR support: Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, ASUS, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo. As for developers, the improvements and additional support should make their development process faster. You will also be able to test your app in a virtual environment from your desktop through the Android Studio Beta’s Emulator.
One of the games that is part of the ARCore 1.0 development and will be announced at the MWC this week is Ghostbusters World, a “state of the art augmented reality game”. It’s still currently in development and uses skill-based gameplay and more features to be announced soon. You will be able to battle and capture different kinds of ghosts from the franchise’s films, TV shows, comic books, theme parks, and video games. The game will be available on Android devices later this year, but MWC attendees can see a brief demo of the AR gameplay.
Meanwhile Google Lens is also seeing some improvements. It will finally be available for all the English-language users of Google Photos so you can get more information about the photos that you take. As for the camera-based Lens experience through Google Assistant, users of compatible flagship devices will also get it over the coming weeks. They’ve added new features even while in preview, like the text selection features, creating contacts and events from a photo, and better support for recognizing animals and plants.