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Apple vs Google: Who Will Win The AR Battle?

On Wednesday, Google unveiled developer tools to make augmented reality apps for Android OS smartphones.

Google’s augmented reality developer system, named ARCore, is set to first be available on Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel.

Google states ARCore will be available to at least 100 million users but has not yet set a broad release date.

The unveiling is a direct strategic move against Apple, who in June revealed a similar augmented reality system, ARKit, which it plans to release to “hundreds of millions” of devices during the American fall.

Both Apple and Google will spruik for the eyes of software developers and customers to use and build various applications, which will make augmented reality on their respective smartphones a valuable feature.

Tim Cook, Apple Chief Executive, states: “AR is big and profound. And this is one of those huge things that we’ll look back at and marvel on the start of it”.

Both Apple and Google have had their fair share of challenges, and strategic choices to consider when bringing AR technology into the phone market.

Apple decided to make its AR system work on devices running the next generation operating system (iOS 11), due out in just over a month. The decision means the technology would have to work on phones dating as far back as the iPhone 6s, notably having a single camera and standard motion sensors, rather than a dual camera system and special-depth sensing chips.

To combat a similar issue, Google changed its tactics to work on phones without depth sensors.

The wide variety of Android smartphones on the market places more challenges on Google, who have to figure out how to adapt the technology to a vast number of phonebrands with different specific parts.

Conversely, Apple who have a clear knowledge of all parts and hardware on its devices is better able to create a system which calibrates well across the board.

Ikea, who have recently announced their new augmented reality app Ikea Place, launching on the Apple App Store after iOS 11’s launch, has heralded Apple’s ARKit system “rock solid”.

Despite lacking special sensors, Apple’s platform allows customers to place Ikea furniture in their homes using the app’s augmented reality at a 98% accuracy.

Analysts as Jan Dawson from Jackdaw Research state:

“This is a classic example of where Apple’s ownership of the whole widget including both hardware and software is a huge advantage over device vendors dependent on Android and the broader value chain of component vendors”.

It will only be a matter of time before consumers and developers see whether it is Apple or Google who comes out ahead in the augmented reality smartphone race.

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