Watch out, Apple and ARKit. Google’s getting into the AR dev kit game — and bringing augmented reality to potentially 2 billion Android devices. 

On Tuesday, Google announced ARCore, its answer to Apple’s ARKit. It’s in preview mode right now and works with a small slice of Android devices, and Google’s working with a bunch of manufacturers to help their devices conform to ARCore’s requirements. And Google already has an AR platform with Tango, something Apple does not have, and Daydream VR device, another asset that the iPhone company lacks.

ARCore also supports Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and Unity, two important tools for making games.

But now mobile AR designers face a question: Do you target iOS, which is one consistent standard, or Android, with its fleet of devices and manufacturers? While a number of observers see AR or mixed reality becoming the dominant tech in the future, some see room for both. AR is also seeing nice growth this year with enterprise users.

And what’s the common thread here? Google and Android, with devices, SDKs, and platforms, are ready for both … while Apple appears to be charging forward with AR and waiting for partners to build devices that take ARKit out of the phone and to the next level.

Like Apple, Microsoft has made its bet on AR … and it’s showing how important this fledgling tech is by putting the next Halo experience in Windows Mixed Reality. Halo is Microsoft’s most important video game property, and giving it the AR treatment shows how the Xbox company is all-in on it over VR.

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser. Please be sure to visit our AR/VR Channel.

–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S. Here’s a reminder of how AR works on Apple’s iPad.

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