Christmas has arrived early for ARCore app developers, as Google just unwrapped a few iterative improvements to the augmented reality toolkit in version 1.6.
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"The magic of augmented reality is in the way it blends the digital and the physical worlds," said Ashish Shah, product manager for Google AR & VR, in a blog post. "For AR experiences to feel truly immersive, digital objects need to look realistic — as if they were actually there with you, in your space. This is something we continue to prioritize as we update ARCore and Sceneform."
In addition, Google has added support for screen capture and recording in Sceneform. This will enable developers to add scene capture and recording to their apps, making it easier for users to share experiences with others. Moreover, the feature will facilitate easier recording for developers to create demo reels of their apps.
The latest version of the ARCore app is available now in the Google Play Store. From the consumer-facing side, Google's update also promises improved performance and battery life while operating with reduced memory utilization.
Google has also granted official support to new smartphone models, including the Samsung Galaxy A3 and the Huawei P20 Lite. In total, ARCore now supports 104 Android devices, including 14 models for the China market. According to Google, the total population of ARCore devices now amounts to 250 million.
Since releasing ARCore 1.0 in February, Google continues to ship frequent improvements to its augmented reality platform. And because the toolkit is packed into an app rather than baked into the Android operating system, Google holds an advantage over Apple, which requires OS updates for new ARKit features.
However, Google still lags behind in feature count, as ARKit 2.0 gives apps support for persistent content and object recognition, though few apps actually take advantage of these latest features.
While Google may be nimble in distributing ARCore, Android itself still stands as a disadvantage for Google vs. iOS when it comes to OS updates, as Google has infamously struggled to wrangle the various device manufacturers into keeping pace with the latest version of Android. Nevertheless, by adding another round of handsets to its list of supported devices, Google has managed cast a wide AR net over recently released flagship and budget models.