Augmented reality apps and games will be available on “hundreds of millions” of Android smartphones by the end of 2018. That’s the word from the business and operations lead for Google’s VR unit, Amit Singh, who talked up the search giant’s AR ambitions at the recent Web Summit in Lisbon.
Google had already confirmed that it plans to introduce advanced AR support to around 100 million devices before the end of this year, but the company’s long-term goal is to transform millions more Android devices into AR ready machines in the following twelve months.
The rollout won’t just cover high-end flagship devices either, as Google appears to be aiming for a mass market crowd with tech’s oft-heralded ‘next big thing’. “Augmented reality [will become] a core feature of most of Android over the next few years,” Singh said, noting that mid- and low-tier handsets will be updated over the next two years.
This AR ready utopia is all thanks to ARCore – Google’s Android software development kit (SDK) that lets developers introduce AR capabilities to almost any Android device without the need for additional sensors or hardware.
According to Singh, the ARCore project is running as planned, and his team is currently “helping developers … build the experiences … so that [AR] becomes a daily habit.”
Singh also touched on the potential monitization avenues AR can offer. We’ve already seen this potential in action with AR’s current standard-bearer, Pokémon Go. The location-based mobile game has brought in well over $1 billion in revenue through in-app purchases.
Singh also highlighted the benefits of AR for shopping apps, which is something brands like IKEA have already jumped on for Apple’s equivalent development toolkit for iPhone, ARKit.
ARCore is currently only available on Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 devices and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, but this should all change very soon. Let us know your thoughts about Google’s AR plans in the comments.