GOOGLE AND APPLE are both touting their new mixed-reality (MR) strategy as a gateway to AR and VR adoption.
Mixed reality, as the name suggests, mixes the real world seen through a camera lens, with augmented elements. Pokemon Go represents a good example, but the next stages will see the idea taken much further.
Google's new ARCore SDK (a move on from Project Tango) can be used on more phones because it does away with the need for depth perception.
Quoth Google, "We've been developing the fundamental technologies that power mobile AR over the last three years with Tango, and ARCore is built on that work. But, it works without any additional hardware, which means it can scale across the Android ecosystem. ARCore will run on millions of devices, starting today with the Pixel and Samsung's S8, running 7.0 Nougat and above.
"We're targeting 100 million devices at the end of the preview. We're working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and others to make this possible with a consistent bar for quality and high performance."
Apple meanwhile has been demoing the first fruits of its ARkit for iOS, first mentioned back in July and currently showing titles including a Walking Dead mixed reality game, an augmentation of Ikea's products to see what they would look like in their homes. These will be amongst the launch titles when iOS11 leaves beta in the coming weeks, possibly with AR glasses in tow.
Microsoft isn't being left behind either, with companies like Acer already slashing the cost of helmets for mixed and augmented reality via Windows Holographic.
Long story short then, the battle to escape reality is on, with all of the major players as obsessed with it as they are about personal assistants.
Whether you love it, or think it's an utter waste of time dreamt up by people who clearly have nothing left for them in the real world (and of course that's a matter of opinion) it looks like VR/AR/MR will be the big talk beyond IFA, as we head on to CES. µ
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