Samsung announced a number of initiatives intended to drive update of augmented reality (AR) and VR technologies, including plans to back Google’s ARCore platform for building AR apps.
At the South Korea-based giant’s Samsung Developer Conference 2017 this week, it said it would offer the Google technology on “more Galaxy devices (S8, S8+ and Note8). It stated: “While this is driven by the strengths of our mobile devices, we believe the future of AR will extend beyond the smartphone as we apply advances in machine learning and computer vision to move from recording the world to understanding it”.
The alliance is significant because it brings the leading Android device maker to ARCore, removing a potential source of fragmentation. Google said earlier this year it was working with other vendors to push for broader adoption.
ARCore uses three technologies to integrate virtual content with the real world: motion tracking; “environmental understanding” to detect flat surfaces such as the ground or a table; and light estimation.
Unsurprisingly for a developer event, Samsung was keen to push the ecosystem element of its work: “Samsung is committed to growing its community of developers and collaborators to expand the presence of new reality experiences in our daily lives. By doing so, we will not only open new business opportunities for our partners, but also provide greater access for all to a rapidly expanding market,” it said.
Since introducing Gear VR nearly three years ago, a catalogue of more than 1,000 apps and 10,000 videos have been created. SDC17, it said, showcased the company’s “latest VR solutions to help educate developers on the possibilities that exist when building within Samsung’s VR ecosystem”.
This includes GearVR Framework, an open source VR rendering engine with Java interface for developing mobile VR apps without the need for developers to know multiple underlying SDKs. A new Gear 360 SDK enables developers to build ways to control Gear 360 cameras directly from an app, while software updates simplify how photos are shared with Samsung’s cloud integration.