Google tries to fight wide ARKit compatibility with its own augmented reality initiative A...

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2017
Google has announced it's own augmented reality initiative called ARCore -- but serious limitations on what versions of Android can be used and a very narrow list of compatible hardware will be tough hurdles to overcome.




Google's ARCore, announced on Tuesday, is based on the company's Tango project at least in part. ARCore doesn't need the dedicated sensors and camera arrays that Tango needs, and will utilize a smartphone's camera, gyroscope, and other available sensors for positional and motion tracking.

A developer preview has started, and was made available to developers on Tuesday. Much like how ARKit is in pre-release testing prior to the full iOS 11 release expected in September, developers can start using the preview API and routines -- assuming that they are using Android 7.0 Nougat or newer installed on the latest Google Pixel phone, or Samsung Galaxy S8.

Google does promise that by the end of the preview that it is hoping to support 100 million total devices including more from Samsung, and smartphones from Huawei, LG, and Asus. However, not clear is when the preview is slated to end, or what specific hardware will be required for cameras, sensors, or processors.

As a potential boon for developers, ARCore works with Unity and the Unreal Engine, as well as with Java and OpenGL.

ARKit versus ARCore, by the numbers

When ARKit launched, Apple claimed that the iPhone would instantaneously be the largest augmented reality platform when iOS 11 ships -- and even with the ARCore release, this is still the case.

At present, Apple has the edge. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel are both phones from 2017. ARKit from Apple supports the A9 and newer processors, meaning every iPhone and iPad that Apple has released since September 2015 will work with the release.

On August 3, Samsung was believed to have shipped 20 million Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones worldwide. According to Google's own data, active Pixel phones devices number between one million and five million, with the range of sales entered in the beginning of June. Both devices shipped with Android Nougat installed. Combined, this puts the available hardware suitable for ARCore at somewhat less than 25 million at present.

In contrast, from October 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017 Apple has sold over 381 million iPhones, with the vast majority on Apple's newest operating system and an iPhone 6s or newer -- well more than an order of magnitude higher than just the combined sales of the Galaxy S8 and Pixel.

Lines for the iPhone 7 in September 2016
Lines for the iPhone 7 in September 2016


In February, 80 percent of all operating iOS devices were running iOS 10 -- a number roughly consistent with years past. Assuming that 80 percent of the 381 million devices sold since the iPhone 6s will be upgraded to iOS 11 in short order, that gives a potential pool of 304 million devices all likely able to run ARKit in September, not including any additional devices sold after the "iPhone 8" and "iPhone 7s" release or any of the 79 million iPads sold since the iPhone 6s launched.

Also in February 2017, Android Nougat was installed on 1.2 percent of active Android devices out of a pool of around 2 billion devices active at least once a month after a release six months prior at about the same time as iOS 10. The number of Nougat installations has since grown to 13 percent.

Even if Google expands the hardware needed to run ARCore, the adoption percentage of the company's latest version of Android will be a major hindrance to adoption. Assuming Android has 2 billion active devices per month, and a growth to 15 percent for Nougat, that works out to around 300 million devices capable of running Nougat -- but most won't have the hardware able to run ARCore even after hardware restrictions are lifted or loosened.





Over time, after both products have shipped and available to as wide a market as possible, ARCore may catch the iOS implementation of ARKit's user base. However, it won't be in September when iOS 11 releases, and may take years, if not a full decade to do so.

Google's release on Tuesday is good for the end-user of either platform. Regardless of the ultimate victor of the battle for hearts and minds, both Google and Apple function better for customers when there is genuine competition in a space, and augmented reality is just the latest front.
lolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    Of course they did. Tango is a failure with non-existent hardware and hardly any software. And this is after 3 years, no less.

    Now how will Google rationalize the two competing systems?
    Muntzwatto_cobra[Deleted User]
  • Reply 2 of 53
    red oakred oak Posts: 678member
    How specifically is ARCore enabled on a phone?   Does it require a separate download or is it part of Google Play services framework?  
  • Reply 3 of 53
    ph382ph382 Posts: 28member
    A larger pool of creative minds (beyond Apple coders) means we'll see more good ideas!
  • Reply 4 of 53
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,656member
    Google needs to start following the star trek Scotty rule, under promise over deliver. We all know they just made promises they can not deliver on. They have no control over hardware specs and all the customizations each Android partner does with the Android software and hardware will make for a bad end user experience.

    Yep this is going to end well
    longpathargonautMuntzanton zuykovmacky the mackylolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 53
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,180member
    It's unlikely it will take a full decade for it to catch up. 

    Depending on how useful it proves to be for general consumers, it might even lead to an Android supercycle although the most logical situation would be for it to catch up relatively quickly as Android users seem to be on shorter upgrade cycles anyway.

    Seeing as specs move so fast, it isn't so much a case of users upgrading to the latest Android OS but getting a new phone with it pre-installed.
  • Reply 6 of 53
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    I'm expecting Apple's in-house designed SoCs, especially with the move to their in-house designed GPUs, will lead to much better efficiency and performance per Watt for Apple's AR experience. To me, this seems like a very difficult synergy of HW and SW for other vendors to compete against.
    tmayGG1ericthehalfbeemuthuk_vanalingampscooter63macky the mackylolliveriqatedowatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 53
    robjnrobjn Posts: 235member
    This is where Apple has the advantage - controlling hardware and software.

    Google can't just bake AR support into the OS - the technology needs to work with specific camera/sensor hardware.

    So Google and phone manufacturers need to work together to create hardware and software that works together - this is going to take some time!
    macky the mackySpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 53
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,129moderator
    Hmm, Apple will move nearly 300 million iOS devices in the next 12 months, combined iPhone and iPad, and every one of those will run ARKit apps.  Add those to the 300-350 million already in existence, and add 300 million more the year after that.  That's 900 million, with maybe 60 million of attrition, leaving north of 800 million ARKit iOS devices in active use two years from today.  That's a lot of tailwind with developers creating AR apps for iOS first, and taking a wait and see approach to the growth of an Android base of models capable of running Google's AR platform.  This market could very well run away from Android and be all Apple's to lose. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 53


    This vs. that. LOLOLOLOL. I'm blown away by those trees and mountains, Google. :neutral: 

    Image result for apple arkit
    ericthehalfbeeradarthekatlolliverjony0watto_cobrasennen[Deleted User]
  • Reply 10 of 53
    EngDevEngDev Posts: 76member
    Great news for AR fans, this will definitely help with mainstream adoption.

    It should still be noted that neither ARKit or ARCore are nearly as powerful as Tango. The dedicated hardware of Tango is a double edged sword, it allows for a much better AR experience, but it also hinders adoption.

    Upcoming mainstream technologies, such as Qualcomm's next-gen Spectra ISP camera module, will allow for depth sensing, and ultimately a better AR experience. 


  • Reply 11 of 53
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
  • Reply 12 of 53
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,935member
    EngDev said:
    Great news for AR fans, this will definitely help with mainstream adoption.

    It should still be noted that neither ARKit or ARCore are nearly as powerful as Tango. The dedicated hardware of Tango is a double edged sword, it allows for a much better AR experience, but it also hinders adoption.

    Upcoming mainstream technologies, such as Qualcomm's next-gen Spectra ISP camera module, will allow for depth sensing, and ultimately a better AR experience. 


    Next generation. Dedicated hardware.

    Those are caveats to the why of these companies now playing catchup to Apple.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 53
    EngDevEngDev Posts: 76member
    peterhart said:


    This vs. that. LOLOLOLOL. I'm blown away by those trees and mountains, Google. :neutral: 

    Image result for apple arkit
    Soli said:
    Can you spot the difference?

    ARCore:




    ARKit:


    I'm assuming you're both just joking, but just in case, those are some simple demo models Google developers made. You can import more photo-realistic models into ARCore.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    EngDevEngDev Posts: 76member
    tmay said:
    EngDev said:
    Great news for AR fans, this will definitely help with mainstream adoption.

    It should still be noted that neither ARKit or ARCore are nearly as powerful as Tango. The dedicated hardware of Tango is a double edged sword, it allows for a much better AR experience, but it also hinders adoption.

    Upcoming mainstream technologies, such as Qualcomm's next-gen Spectra ISP camera module, will allow for depth sensing, and ultimately a better AR experience. 


    Next generation. Dedicated hardware.

    Those are caveats to the why of these companies now playing catchup to Apple.
    Next generation, as in, mainstream Snapdragon processors in 2018.

    Apple doesn't have this, not sure how anyone would be playing catchup.
    avon b7williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 53
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    Of course they did. Tango is a failure with non-existent hardware and hardly any software. And this is after 3 years, no less.

    Now how will Google rationalize the two competing systems?
    Google tends to spend far too long "playing" with a new technology. They've done the same with self-driving. Seems they only try to put a period on it and make it something marketable when some other company enters the space. I have zero doubt that somewhere within Alphabet there was a team with what I guess they'll be calling "ARCore" well under way when Apple first announced their AR platform. But dang it they should finish stuff once in awhile.

    Thank Goodness for Google shareholders that Brin and Company hired an adult tasked with making the various divisions accountable: Deliver something with market potential or forget about money to play with it. 
  • Reply 16 of 53
    EngDev said:
    tmay said:
    EngDev said:
    Great news for AR fans, this will definitely help with mainstream adoption.

    It should still be noted that neither ARKit or ARCore are nearly as powerful as Tango. The dedicated hardware of Tango is a double edged sword, it allows for a much better AR experience, but it also hinders adoption.

    Upcoming mainstream technologies, such as Qualcomm's next-gen Spectra ISP camera module, will allow for depth sensing, and ultimately a better AR experience. 


    Next generation. Dedicated hardware.

    Those are caveats to the why of these companies now playing catchup to Apple.
    Next generation, as in, mainstream Snapdragon processors in 2018.

    Apple doesn't have this, not sure how anyone would be playing catchup.

    "Apple doesn't have this." So you know for sure what the A11 will contain? Or the A12 next year? Qualcomm and Samsung are so far behind Apple for processor designs it's not even funny anymore.

    They'll also be playing catchup to Apple in terms of developer support and device support. In a mere two months since ARKit was announced more has happened than Tango has managed to do in 3 years. Tango is a massive failure.
    tmaypscooter63macky the mackylolliverwatto_cobra[Deleted User]williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 53
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    EngDev said:
    peterhart said:
    [image]

    This vs. that. LOLOLOLOL. I'm blown away by those trees and mountains, Google. :neutral: 

    [image]
    Soli said:
    Can you spot the difference?

    ARCore:

    [image[

    ARKit:

    [image]
    I'm assuming you're both just joking, but just in case, those are some simple demo models Google developers made. You can import more photo-realistic models into ARCore.
    I'm not joking, and I have no doubt that their demos are the limit of what is possible, but I do wonder at what expense to battery life would it cost Android to run the same AR imagery of a spinning photo-relastic burger compared to iOS+A11 HW.
    lolliverwonkothesanewatto_cobra[Deleted User]
  • Reply 18 of 53
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,935member
    EngDev said:
    tmay said:
    EngDev said:
    Great news for AR fans, this will definitely help with mainstream adoption.

    It should still be noted that neither ARKit or ARCore are nearly as powerful as Tango. The dedicated hardware of Tango is a double edged sword, it allows for a much better AR experience, but it also hinders adoption.

    Upcoming mainstream technologies, such as Qualcomm's next-gen Spectra ISP camera module, will allow for depth sensing, and ultimately a better AR experience. 


    Next generation. Dedicated hardware.

    Those are caveats to the why of these companies now playing catchup to Apple.
    Next generation, as in, mainstream Snapdragon processors in 2018.

    Apple doesn't have this, not sure how anyone would be playing catchup.
    Before Apple delivered ARKit, it wasn't even rumored to exist. AR was just vague statements from Tim Cook that Apple was very interested in ti.

    Unlike Google and Qualcomm, Apple leans towards keeping its work under wraps until its ready.

    I'm more than happy to wait to see how this pans out, but so far, I'm not seeing what you do.
    lolliverjony0watto_cobra[Deleted User]williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 53
    EngDevEngDev Posts: 76member
    EngDev said:
    Next generation, as in, mainstream Snapdragon processors in 2018.

    Apple doesn't have this, not sure how anyone would be playing catchup.

    "Apple doesn't have this." So you know for sure what the A11 will contain? Or the A12 next year? Qualcomm and Samsung are so far behind Apple for processor designs it's not even funny anymore.

    They'll also be playing catchup to Apple in terms of developer support and device support. In a mere two months since ARKit was announced more has happened than Tango has managed to do in 3 years. Tango is a massive failure.
    "doesn't have" =! "will not have", we don't know what the A11 will have, but we do know what Qualcomm's upcoming camera module will have. I'm not going to pretend to know, but we do know that Apple currently does not have this.

    I'm sure they'll have to catch up in terms of software, which wasn't what I had been talking about.

    Tango was never going to get mainstream adoption with its hardware requirements and limited devices, but it certainly does AR much better than ARKit/ARCore. Like I said, a double edged sword.


    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 53
    wigbywigby Posts: 690member
    EngDev said:
    peterhart said:


    This vs. that. LOLOLOLOL. I'm blown away by those trees and mountains, Google. :neutral: 

    Image result for apple arkit
    Soli said:
    Can you spot the difference?

    ARCore:




    ARKit:


    I'm assuming you're both just joking, but just in case, those are some simple demo models Google developers made. You can import more photo-realistic models into ARCore.
    Then I guess it's on. We've seen many impressive AR demos from Apple developers since ARKit announcement. If Google doesn't impress within the next few weeks too, they will lose a lot of momentum. Developers are making plans now and some will not look back once they go with ARKit.
    jbdragonjony0watto_cobrawilliamlondon
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