Google's ARCore team continues to be busy, as another update to its augmented reality toolkit shows.
As of version 1.4 of Google, automatic autofocus support, faster layer detection, and more image resolution available for the computer vision on the platform. New SDKs are also available for Android, iOS, Unity, Unreal Engine.
Along with the update, Google has extended ARCore support to new devices from Huawei, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Vivo and Xiaomi. In addition, Google has enabled support for selected Huawei and Xiaomi mobile phones for the China region by releasing ARCore on the respective manufacturers' app marketplaces (as Google Play is not available in China). ARCore now works with 57 Android devices and ARKit-compatible iPhones and iPads for Cloud Anchor
This update is not only important for AR, it also gives the Android ecosystem a boost of sorts. In recent years, Google has received its share of flak for the fragmentation of Android compared to Apple's iOS. According to the Android Distribution Dashboard, only 12.1% of devices are on Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest version of the operating system. With 30.8% of the devices on nougat, the universe of ARCore-compatible devices is still in the minority.
One advantage of Apple over Apple, however, is the fact that ARCore is actually an app and is not baked into the operating system. This gives Google a slightly easier way to publish updates to ARCore than any other app, rather than relying on device manufacturers to adopt new versions of Android. In the meantime, ARKit updates depend on Apple delivering new versions of iOS.
While this is a fairly iterative update compared to Android 1.2, it's the fifth update of the platform since Google officially released ARCore with version 1.0 in February. After providing ARKit 2.0 with stubborn AR content and object detection in the fall, Google shows that with such frequent ARCore updates, there's a chance for a fighter to keep up with the competition.