Google Ships ARCore 1.0 for Android

Posted on February 23, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 12 Comments

Google today announced that ARCore 1.0, its augmented reality platform for Android, is now available in non-preview form.

“Developers can now publish AR apps to the Play Store, and it’s a great time to start building,” Google’s Anuj Gosalia writes. “ARCore works on 100 million Android smartphones, and advanced AR capabilities are available on all of these devices.”

That broad reach explains the “why” of ARCore, which is Google’s second attempt at bringing AR to Android. The first, called Project Tango, required specially-made phones and was never broadly adopted.

But ARCore is already off to a great start: Google says that those 100 million phones are comprised of 13 different phones models, including the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL; Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, Note8, S7 and S7 edge; LGE V30 and V30+ (with Android O); ASUS Zenfone AR; and OnePlus OnePlus 5. And more are on the way: Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, ASUS, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo have all pledged to support the platform.

ARCore needs all the help it can get: Apple already has a strong lead in this market thanks to the integration of its own AR solution, ARKit, in iOS. As of August 2017, there were almost 400 million ARKit-compatible iOS devices in the world. And that was before Apple shipped the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X.

 

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Google Ships ARCore 1.0 for Android”

  1. jrickel96

    Working on AR with Unreal via ARCore. Android is really last to the part on this and as the most limited list of functional devices. Important for the portability, though not as smooth as it is on iOS.

  2. Bats

    ARCore is really fun. While I was in Court and without anyone knowing, I placed a Storm Trooper right next to the Judge using my Pixel. It was hilarious showing this picture back at the office to my colleagues. 

    THIS STUFF IS....FUN!

  3. jimchamplin

    Android has what fifty quadrillion AR users? We get to hear hourly how Android whips the pants off of iOS’ installed numbers.


    Oh. 100 million? Is that 100 million immediately available users? Or the possible number who might get to run 8.x if they’re lucky?


    VS. any iPhone or iPad from the last what? Three years? Remember when Paul said Android is a dumpster fire? This is what he means.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      The problem for ARCore on Android is it is only supported on high-end devices. Android's problem is most users are not on high-end devices. The average selling price for an Android phone is about to dive down below $200 this year, so fewer people are buying high end devices.


      While the Galaxy S9 will make headlines, it will sell a small amount compared to its lower-end brethren. You need at least a Snapdragon 820 to run ARCore, IIRC. 1.9 Billion Android phones run on worse than that. Most new phones are sold with lower end MediaTek chips or Snapdragons in the 2xx, 4xx, or 6xx series. Those can't handle ARCore. Even some 820 phones can't handle it and they also need to have a newer version of the OS.


      AR is going nowhere fast on Android because it'll be years before a large portion of the install base will be able to use it. So iPhone users will use it. Windows users will be able to use it on their tablets and PCs. Only high priced Android handsets can handle it and most Android users don't spend much on their phones.


      Funny thing is that Google's low cost Android One initiative is not likely to support it.


      Android truly is a dumpster fire.

      • dcdevito

        In reply to jrickel96:

        It doesn't have to catch up to ARKit on iOS, it just needs to be stay in the same ballpark. AR is already a niche feature, so none of this is even worth arguing over.

        But saying Android is a dumpster fire? Yep, found another Windows Phone fan, lol.

        • jrickel96

          In reply to dcdevito:

          I spent a year on Android and manage an interactive department that develops for it and iOS concurrently with Windows as we create mobile products that have to interact with a control app in Windows. I have now been on iOS for a year.


          We also have developed AR as well for Android, iOS, and Windows. I have a large collection of Android phones that I test on from a variety of manufacturers at a variety of price points with several different processors. So I notice how the same programs behave differently. I notice how gyroscopes are not predictable from phone to phone, so building AR on Android is a pain because they don't adhere to standards. Same goes for sending commands to hardware (like telling the phone to vibrate or activating the flash).


          I work with Android a lot and DREAD having to turn on any of my Android phones because the OS is such a steaming pile that shows no consistency in power management, CPU management, and memory management from device to device. The stock UI for most phones is also different and the Samsung phones are notably backwards from most other iOS devices.


          Some phones are on M, some N, one O. When they get updated or IF they get updated is unpredictable.


          All Android phones that I have have had several spontaneous unprompted restarts. That never happens on my iPhone - over a year and this has not happened once. My phone still gets great battery life and I've never had to reset it.


          All of my Android phones need to be reset every 3-4 months to maintain any decent semblance of function - and even then system rot is apparent upon reset. If I reset my Windows machine, I don't have that problem.


          I have extensive experience testing in Android. We've developed for it too. I have clients that use it and report far more problems with their Android devices than they do for their Windows or iOS devices.


          Android is garbage and it is not getting any better. There's a reason why many businesses avoid it and why people increasingly are refusing to buy any high end hardware for it. Android is bad and Google has not been able to get a handle on it.


          There may be light at the end of the tunnel. PWA deployment may allow for something else to take hold. Not saying it's Windows, but I think there could be an opportunity for a closed BSD based environment (like iOS is) to make some headway and give a solid viable option to Android.

          • IanYates82

            In reply to jrickel96:

            I don't have your breadth of experience, but I use my s8 a *lot*, but with the thought an IT person would bring (not installing lots of crap). Runs quite well. Camera app being laggy on start is my main complaint.

            and my wife uses her note 8 like a regular person (lots of photo apps, etc) and hers runs really well.

            Neither have ever been reset.

            Not sure I'd like Android on a low end device though.

            • jrickel96

              In reply to IanYates82:

              For individuals that stick with a phone, Android can be a good platform. Especially if you have high end hardware. The S8 has great hardware as does the Note. Most people use lower end hardware.


              Even with Samsung, I've found a lack of consistency in experience across devices. For the individual that gets a good phone and decides to spend, Android can work without a problem. I have some family that have had issues with their Samsungs - can be hit or miss. Some work well, some have issues. My Samsungs tend to have heat issues. Strangely enough the best experience I've had over the past year has been with the Moto E4. The Nexus 6P was my daily driver for awhile, but it had some lag issues over time.


              All that said, if someone likes their Android experience then that's great. If it works for you then that's great. But most of us that bounce between devices or spend time developing for it see the cracks in the OS and the ecosystem. Google Play's management is terrible, especially in comparison to Apple's far superior oversight there. Apple is very good at communicating if there are issues with submissions. Google is not and is horrible at record keeping - had a circumstance where we were submitting for a client with a well known trademark. Both Apple and Google asked for documentation giving proof that we were allowed to submit for our client. Apple got it and we never had another problem. Google got it and continued to say they didn't have the documentation then we had to have the client make an account for us to submit with and even then it was a problem.


              The devs I talk to and work with all tend to joke about how terrible Android is. A lot of it is not things that an average user might deal with - but when you get deep enough into Android you begin to see the cracks beneath the surface.

  4. Tony Barrett

    I guess that's 100m compatible devices right now, with probably another 200-300m to follow. Not a bad start. On your mobile device, AR is probably just a little bit of fun and nothing serious. No extra hardware to buy either. This is where AR might have some traction, but I think it will still won't be that popular. It will give devs something else to try though.

  5. ponsaelius

    Mobile seems to be the AR platform that is moving ahead. It all seems like the "city lens" pioneered by Nokia on Windowsphone but potentially a whole new set of possible uses in the real world being opened up.

  6. jrickel96

    Want to call Google out on this. Working with ARCore this weekend, it pretty much only works on the S8 and Pixel 2. It doesn't work on the S7 - not with anywhere near full functionality. That means the actual footprint of phones that work with it is closer to 40 million. It is spotty on some other devices. Compare this to ARKit. That works on the SE, 6S, 7, 8, and X. That's hundreds of millions of phones.


    Android does not sell a lot of high end phones. Last year the number was around 50 million. That means it will likely years for Android to effectively have any kind of AR footprint that is notable. The capabilities will have to be added to midrange phones before it can really take off. Devs I'm working with think 2020 or 2021 for any kind of realistic widespread usage on Android.


    Android is a mess and in a sad state in regards to the ecosystem. Prices are plummeting as are profits. The average price of an Android handset sale will fall under $200 this year while the Windows PC is back over $700 and iPhones are $750+. Most sales are low-end to mid-range devices with only the Samsungs selling any kind of bulk on the top end. I wonder if we'll start seeing OEMs drop off. Android phones are a super low margin business and Google is now pushing Android Go, driving down the specs of the platform even lower. Good for basic usage, not good for stuff like AR.


    It's a discussion we are having now - do you leave a large number of Android users behind with your games? There's some talk of abandoning Android altogether instead of just catering to the S8, S9, etc because usage rates are so poor (S8 and Note 8 make under 1% of our users compared to 75% iOS). Other companies will push the tech on iOS and ignore Android.


    This is the ultimate issue with Android - not how it works on your phone, but the state of the ecosystem itself. Things are really bad beneath the surface. There are a lot of problems with the platform that will become apparent over the next year as many people are left behind or devs abandon Android altogether. Not your common apps like FB, etc, but any devs that really want to push tech at all are finding Android really difficult to deal with.

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