Augmented Reality is said to be the future, and Google has been surpassed by Apple in that exact field. This is partly due to the way that Android works. Google was an “early bird’ when it came to Augmented Reality. While other companies focused on Virtual Reality, Google was already releasing Daydream and Cardboard. Google also released a platform for Augmented Reality, which is called Tango. Nevertheless, these apps haven’t been in the news very much.
Tango is not very widely supported yet. It may happen that you are visiting a museum, which does support Tango. If that is the case, you can use your smartphone to get more info about the different art pieces in display. Next to that, Tango is also testing out virtual homes, which should allow you to place virtual furniture in the different rooms of your house. There is also works on virtual pets, such as a puppy. The progress that Google made with Tango looked promising. That is until Apple decided to release ARKit, their own Augmented Reality app.
Augmented Reality is the Future
Although virtual reality is still a niche, augmented reality is changing the world. There are endless possibilities to improve the world by using virtual elements. Of course, this goes way beyond the ability to catch a virtual Pokémon in Pokémon GO, or the ability to place virtual furniture into your own house.
Augmented reality has the capability to make life more interesting, beautiful and safer. Think about real-time traffic information on your glasses or windscreen, while you’re driving. How about clear instructions on how to fix something, additional information when you spot an interesting plant or animal in nature and more. The possibilities are basically endless.
Currently, we are at the first stages of Augmented Reality. However, many people are saying that Augmented Reality is the future. Especially because of this reason, Apple surpassing Google when it comes to Augmented Reality is a very big blow to a company like Google.
Apple’s Impressive ARKit
ARKit is Apple’s framework for Augmented Reality. This framework gives app developers everything they need to create Augmented Reality apps. It is impressive technology, and it goes far beyond what we have seen with Tango so far. Objects in the world remain on their exact location. On top of that, the lightning and exposure simply looks beautifully realistic.
What makes ARKit more impressive compared to Tango is the amount of people that ARKit will be made available to. As soon as OS 11 is launched this fall, ARKit will start working on iPhone 6S, iPad Pro, and all Apple devices that came after these. Since ARKit is available to developers, it is expected that a bunch of Augmented Reality apps will be available as soon as OS 11 is launched.
Google’s Problematic Tango
Unfortunately, with the way that Android works, Tango is bound to become problematic. At the moment, there are simply too few Android devices that support Tango. For example, if a museum has Tango support, they usually end up lending Android devices to visitors. Because of this, Google’s Augmented Reality is only fun for certain things, but is not interesting as a platform for developers. Since only a very few Android devices support Tango, developers are not looking to spend their time and money to create Augmented Reality apps for Android. This is a different story when it comes to ARKit, as all new iPhone devices will support it.
The steps taken by both Google and Apple around the Augmented Reality technology are great. Both companies are pushing the development of the technology. However, as of right now, Apple is simply too far ahead for Google to catch up, unless they change the way they work. Augmented Reality is too dependent on hardware, and since the amount of different Android devices keeps growing, it seems like Tango will never become a feasible platform.
This means that, if Augmented Reality really is the future, Google will have a big problem. If Augmented Reality is in your interest, and you are an Android user, you could also focus on Samsung. As a manufacturer of Android devices, Samsung has already shown what it can do with Virtual Reality. Samsung has their Gear VR, which can also be used for Augmented Reality. Perhaps they can release a so-called Gear AR, specifically designed for Augmented Reality. One thing is for sure: Virtual and Augmented Reality keeps getting more interesting.