Alphabet, Inc.’s Google has unveiled tools to make augmented reality apps for mobile devices using the Android operating system, setting up its latest showdown with Apple, Inc.’s iPhone over next-generation smartphone features.
Phone-based augmented reality (AR), in which digital objects are superimposed onto the real world on screen, got a huge boost from the popularity of the Pokémon GO game. The game, launched in the United States in July last year, sent players into city streets, offices, parks and restaurants to search for colorful animated characters.
Analysts expected the game to make $3 billion for Apple over two years as gamers buy “PokéCoins” from its app store.
Google’s take on the technology will first be available on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google’s own Pixel phone. The company said in a blog post that it hoped to make the system, called ARCore, available to at least 100 million users, but did not set a date for a broad release.
Apple in June announced a similar system called ARKit that it plans to release this fall on “hundreds of millions” of devices.