After accidentally teasing a few upcoming phones before removing them again earlier this year, Google has published a proper update to its ARCore support page, revealing that the augmented reality library is now supported by 24 more devices. This time around, all of them have already been announced.
Google has just released Chrome 90 to the stable channel. There aren't too many UI changes or new features for us regular folks on the surface, but under the hood, Google has added a whole slew of improvements that you'll certainly notice over time. You'll get enhancements to copy-and-paste, better AR models, and support for a new codec that uses less bandwidth during video conferences.
Google is one of the few companies of its size willing to commit to trying out new ideas on a large scale. While these projects are often killed off without restraint, it's still fun to see what new software is released from its labs each year. In its latest experiment, Google is launching some new WebXR apps for Chrome, designed to combine AR and VR to add new context to the world around you. From scannable social distancing to a virtual gallery of your memories, these new "XR experiences" are pretty wild.
Niantic has announced that it's partnered further with Nintendo to bring more augmented reality titles to mobile. The first game to come from this extended partnership is going to be themed around Nintendo's adorable Pikmin franchise, and it's expected to arrive later this year. This will be the first game from Niantic's Tokyo Studio, and more titles are planned for the future.
ARCore makes it easier for developers to design augmented reality reality apps on Android. To ensure a consistent experience across devices, the company certifies devices through a specific process that ensures the camera, motion sensors, and CPU perform as expected. For instance, a certified ARCore phone has access to Google's 3D Animal library in Search and Playground, and has been tested to work properly with these services.
Google's ARCore SDK allows phones to place virtual objects in mixed reality situations using their processors, motion sensors, light sensors, and, yes, their camera. However, even with the proliferation of quadruple rear camera phones, ARCore has only been able to use one of them. But soon enough, it'll work with two cameras on a couple of choice devices.
Mixed reality experiences continue to play their roles in helping us understand concepts, tell stories, market products, or in just letting us hang out with a virtual Pomeranian for a hot second. For Android phones, that means having Google certify that your phone supports its ARCore APIs. We've got our first batch of new supported devices for 2021 right here.
Niantic has just released a beta and dogfood app for Ingress Prime on the Google Play Store. These are both clearly testing apps for the game, and the beta's description even provides a link to a Google Doc for users to report the issues they run into when testing this beta (though this link's text is currently cut off, so you can't navigate to the appropriate page). Then there's the dogfood app, which should ideally exist for Niantic employees to test new features. However, having installed the titles, it's clear they are public-facing, so everyone is free to jump into both the dogfood and beta apps to check them out, and apparently, the release notes for the dogfood version will appear in the Ingress Prime release notes in the future.
Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up is an upcoming augmented reality game for mobile, and it's slated for release in the UK in the fall of 2020 and will be released worldwide at a later date. Since this is a fresh announcement, only a few details have been shared, and so far, we know the game will be animated through CG, and that fans will get to join the duo in their latest business venture as an employee of the Spick & Spanners. Ideally, the game will provide a home-based experience (as in this AR game can easily be played at home), and will support the majority of modern smartphones.
You won't have to go to a galaxy far, far away to meet a beloved character who has been an internet sensation since it first featured in Disney's The Mandalorian show last year. Thanks to Google, you can now virtually place a life-sized Grogu — colloquially known as Baby Yoda — right in your room.