Google today launched ARCore Developer Preview 2, which you can download now from developers.google.com/ar and use to create AR experiences on Android. At the same time, the company announced it is ending support for Tango, its first augmented reality platform.
ARCore is an Android software development kit (SDK) that brings augmented reality to existing and future Android phones without requiring additional sensors or hardware. The first preview was released in August with support for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8+. Android 7.0 Nougat or above is required.
Google is aiming to have ARCore on 100 million devices upon launch of version 1.0, which still doesn’t have a release date (Google today shared it is slated to arrive “in the coming months”). Google is working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, Asus, and others to make that happen “with a consistent bar for quality and high performance.”
As for Developer Preview 2, you can expect the following improvements:
- A new C API for use with the Android NDK that complements our existing Java, Unity, and Unreal SDKs
- Functionality that lets AR apps pause and resume AR sessions, for example to let a user return to an AR app after taking a phone call
- Improved accuracy and runtime efficiency across our anchor, plane finding, and point cloud APIs.
The death of Tango is completely expected. ARCore is built on the work already done with Tango, which was first released in June 2014 and since then has only made it to a handful of devices, including just two commercial phones: Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro in August 2016 and Asus’ Zenfone AR in September 2017 (which flopped immediately due to ARCore’s release).
While very powerful in terms of potential, Tango was very limited in terms of reach, as it relies on specific hardware. ARCore is supposed to more broadly leverage Android, which Google touts as “the largest mobile platform in the world” (there are currently over 2 billion Android devices). And so, in less than three months, Tango will be no more:
We’re turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018. Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore. https://t.co/aYiSUkgyie
— Tango (@projecttango) December 15, 2017
“Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years,” Google wrote today. “We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore.”