In recent weeks, Google managed to capitalize on the hype surrounding the Star Wars streaming series The Mandalorian with an AR app that was not only exclusive to Android but also available only for 5G-equipped devices.
Now, Google has partnered with Red Bull to launch an AR experience that syncs with The Last Ascent, a documentary film about Canadian climber Will Gadd's 2014 and 2020 expeditions on Mt. Kilimanjaro and the impacts of climate change observed between the trips. While the experience runs on ARKit-capable iPhones and iPads as well as Android devices that support ARCore, in this case, you'll need either a Chromecast with Google TV or some other Android TV appliance.
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At the start of the experience, you'll find a QR code to scan to open the experience on your smartphone. You'll scan your environment as per tradition with ARKit and ARCore apps, and then you'll anchor the experience to your TV with the on-screen guide. Additional content can be unlocked throughout the film.
Once you've calibrated the experience, you'll find a 3D replica of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Throughout the film, the trek is annotated on the mountain with additional content and videos to interact with throughout the experience, including photo galleries, team bios, virtual gauges displaying altitude and oxygen, and waypoints to view the crew's location.
Previously, Red Bull brought Red Bull Air Race into viewer's physical environment via the HoloLens and the Flight Deck application.
The brand's latest experiment is certainly more scalable, considering it is far more likely that the average consumer has either the new Chromecast or an Android TV as opposed to a HoloLens.
However, it also highlights the fragmentation of app-based mobile AR experiences between Apple and Google ecosystems. Sure, the Red Bull TV app is available for iPhones and iPads, but that also means that this segment of consumers is more likely to opt into the Apple TV ecosystem.
Nonetheless, if you're a fan of outdoor exploration and augmented reality, the new Chromecast is priced comfortably enough as an impulse buy.
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