Ahead of Mobile World Congress, Google is announcing a few updates to Android, its mobile operating system. On Thursday, Google revealed plans for Android users and businesses to exchange messages through its RCS (Rich Communication Services).
On Friday, the company announced updates to its augmented reality platform, ARCore, which up until now has been limited to a handful of devices and limited functionality for developers.
Another feature Google is updating is Google Lens, a tool that uses artificial intelligence to identify objects using a phone's camera.
Android's ARCore platform is now out of beta, and the 1.0 software developer kit (SDK) is launching. Developers can use ARCore to create augmented reality experiences in apps and games for Android devices. Currently, 13 devices are supported:
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel XL
- Google Pixel 2
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8+
- Samsung Galaxy Note8
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
- LG V30 (Android Oreo only)
- LG V30+ (Android Oreo only)
- ASUS Zenfone AR
- OnePlus OnePlus 5
Throughout this year, however, more device manufacturers will announce ARCore compatibility. Some of the new vendors include Huawei, Motorola, Xiaomi, Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo. Device makers Samsung, LGE, and ASUS will also announce new devices with support for ARCore.
Outside of new hardware, developers will have access to new tools and features in ARCore 1.0. Through improved environmental understanding, ARCore apps will have the ability to place graphics onto textured surfaces.
Partnering with Huawei, Xiaomi, and Samsung, Google will release ARCore in China.
To show off the new capabilities, Google provided early access to the new ARCore features to a few select companies. One of those companies is Snap, which used the new features to create an immersive AR experience in its mobile app, Snapchat.
Other companies with early access include Ghostbusters World, Porsche, HD.com, and OTTO.
Google's for identifying items in a photo, Google Lens, is expanding to more devices and Apple's iOS platform.
Android and iOS users will need to install the Google Photos app to access Google Lens features. Furthermore, Google is expanding Google Lens to Google Assistant on devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony, and Nokia in the coming weeks.