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Battle of the AR

Posted by Fran Geddes on 05-Sep-2017 12:30:00
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With Google’s latest announcement of ARCore, augmented reality (AR) is set to storm the market sooner than we think. Both Google and Apple releasing AR software means there is likely to be a wave of AR apps following the success of Pokémon Go, and delving into the potential of augmented reality.

augmented reality furniture

AR isn’t a new concept. In July, Pokémon Go launched AR into the mass market, introducing a lot of people to the possibilities of the technology. However, the concept has been around since the 1990s. It wasn’t until 2008 that the first AR application was developed for smartphones, a navigational app which pointed users to places on interest, only available on Android.

Flashback to present day, and we will soon have the software to create our own AR smartphone applications. ARKit and ARCore are both examples of ways technology companies are leading the way within digital transformation. As seen within retail and finance, businesses are looking to embrace technological advances to enhance their customer service, and create a more engaging and immersive experience for the user.



Announced at the July Conference, Apple’s ARKit is likely to be released alongside iOS11 at the September Apple Conference. Using Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO), ARKit will accurately track a user’s surroundings to create an accurate display. It also makes use of the sensor built within the camera to detect the amount of light to apply to the AR object The software is smart enough to detect horizontal surfaces, e.g. a table/floor, allowing virtual objects to align with the surfaces to seemingly exist realistically. 

The software will only be available on iPhones/iPad’s using an A9 or A10 chip. This includes any iPhone prior to the iPhone 6s release and the 2017 iPad.  



Due to the popularity of Apple, Google will have to step up their game to win the AR war. This is actually Google’s second attempt at an AR SDK with the outrageously expensive Google Glass hardware failing to penetrate the emerging market.

ARCore is a different product, and is a direct competitor of Apple’s ARKit, putting Google under obvious pressure to compete. Similar to ARKit, ARCore runs on three components, motion tracking, environmental understanding and light estimation. Where Google might have a slight edge over Apple is the software’s future potential. Google are looking to implement a Virtual Positioning Services (VPS) allowing developers to create world scale AR experiences. 

The technology will not require a software update and users will simply wake up to ARCore the day of its release. Google have promised that ARCore will work across 100 million existing Android devices and runs on Android 7.0 Nougat as well as Android Oreo.


Developers are hard at work to corner the AR market with new apps currently being developed that employ the software. Ikea and Wayfair are one of the first retailers utilising AR. The apps allow users to place products within their own homes to see how it looks and whether it will fit. This is only a forecast of what’s to come within the retail sector, with AR, virtual reality and artificial intelligence software looking to change the way we shop forever.

With the two smartphone OS giants battling it out to see who comes out on top, it is likely that AR will see exciting innovations and developments within the upcoming months.

Most smartphones have the required software built, and with the release of ARKit and ARCore, brands will soon be looking for a way to harness the potential of AR within their digital strategy. Speak to our digital transformation experts at B60 today to establish your mobile strategy today. 


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Topics: AR and VR, Digital Transformation, General Tech News