Google just announced its answer to Apple's augmented reality platform

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Burke writes that ARCore takes advantage of mobile augmented-reality technologies that were developed through building Tango. Android 7.0 Nougat or above is required. The OS is working with manufacturers including Samsung, Huawei, LG, and ASUS to make this possible, Burke said. What is different about ARCore (compared to other AR development tools), is that ARCore looks to bring AR functionality to a vast number of Android smartphones, quickly. ARCore is built on the work already done with Tango, the company's augmented reality platform. The Lenovo PHAB2 Pro was the first Tango phone to be released.

Google ARCore certainly sounds like a substantial upgrade from Tango which still hasn't quite caught up despite the fact it was launched three years ago. This opens up the framework to almost all Android devices available. Still, 100 million out of 2 billion is only 5 percent, so unless you have a flagship phone from the a year ago or so, don't hold your breath. Even Pokémon Go, a smash hit when it was released in the summer of 2016, doesn't do a great job of mixing virtual creatures with reality as you see it through your smartphone screen. With motion tracking, ARCore can determine how the phone is positioned and oriented as it moves.

In terms of technical capabilities, the tech giant has noted ARCore will work Java/Open GL, Unity and Unreal engines while focusing on motion tracking, environmental understanding and light estimation.

Perhaps more interesting, however, is how ARCore can actually observe the ambient light in the environment and use that as a variable in the AR experience. 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. This is achieved by being able to detect what objects are in front of a device's camera.

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Google is not holding back in terms of wooing developers. Version 4.18 preview builds will be released to developers "in a few weeks".

Up until recently, creating and experiencing augmented reality content was only possible with specialized equipment.

The second focus of ARCore is on so-called "environmental understanding".

It will be available to developers i n preview beginning today. However, like every other software framework, Google ARCore's success also comes down to how well it is received by developers.