Let's face it, a practical and usable Augmented Reality (AR) is now overdue. If you really think about it, the idea was first popularized way back in 1984, and we can thank the Terminator movie for that. Who can forget the T-800's augmented reality vision with a red tint and information about the objectives, objects, and subjects?
Augmented Reality Technology
Historically, this is not the first time that augmented reality was introduced to the market. Back in 2014, Google had an augmented reality project known as the Tango, which eventually failed to gain mass appeal and only ended up in specialized smartphones and tablets of Asus and Lenovo. Also, who could forget about Google Glass, which is currently having a difficult time of lifting off?
While augmented reality is a cool idea that comes straight from a sci-fi movie, but when converted to a real-life setting, it has a lot of major hurdles. First of all, the technology itself. In the past, using augmented reality technology means buying specialized equipment, which is are not exactly cheap. Then, there's the practical use of the technology. Yes, it's a fun toy, but investors are having second thoughts on investing on the idea as there's no sure way of monetizing it. This all changed when Pokemon Go schooled them on how to do it.
These days, investors and companies are slowly looking into the idea of augmented reality technology, and you can thank Pokemon Go for that. When the game was released back in July 2016, it became an instant hit and churned in $16 billion worth of in-app purchases from the Appstore alone.
At its core, Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game. But the beauty of it is that you don't need special equipment, which gave both Apple and Google a good idea on how they may introduce the technology on a massive scale.
Also, IKEA has a great way of utilizing augmented reality technology. If given a choice, most consumers wouldn't buy furniture from an online store as there's no way to have a "feel" of the item and how it relates to the room. Well, IKEA is working with Apple to develop an app with AR technology that allows the consumer to "visualize" the furniture with 98% size accuracy. Suddenly, AR technology is becoming a big business potential. No wonder Google and Apple are poised to do battle in a new arena.
The Augmented Reality Arena
Apple and Google are two of the of biggest tech giants, and they've been going at it for quite some time and in multiple areas like cameras, smartphones, tablets, and apps. Well, they can add another arena to do battle and it's the augmented technology playing field.
Apple's AR technology is called ARKit, and it's scheduled to be released together with upcoming iOS 11, which is in a few weeks from. According to Apple, the ARKit's feature can be used from iPhone 6s to the latest version.
On the other side of the corner is Google and it's ARCore. It works similar to Apple's ARKit in a way it's easier to adopt as it doesn't need special depth sensors and other special equipment.
Between the two, it seems that Apple has the upper hand when it comes to the AR technology. This is because Apple has little to worry about the user's smartphone hardware as Apple has control of both hardware and software.
The same thing can't be said to Google's Android. Android may be a great platform, but Google has no control over the hardware. This can be a huge problem as there are a lot of smartphone manufacturers that use the Android, and each has different hardware configuration; which could potentially cause software-hardware issues. On the upside, Google has more experience when it comes to AR technology when compared to Apple.
As of the moment, Google is planning to release its ARCore on Samsung's latest phones and on its Pixel smartphones.
While we don't know yet who will be crowned as the AR arena champ, but there's one thing we know - the sure winner here is the AR technology itself. AR technology is finally getting the mass exposure that it desperately needs.