Augmented reality (AR) has become one of the biggest talking points in the smartphone industry. Market leaders Apple and Google have embraced the technology, and are working hard to bring phone-based AR to the masses.
Google executive Amit Singh was speaking about the technology at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon earlier today. He told attendees that the company expects "hundreds of millions" of Android devices will be capable of augmented reality (AR) by the end of 2018.
"There will be hundreds of millions of phones that will be AR ready. And the current stage is, we are helping developers to build the experiences so that it becomes a daily habit," Singh said. "And once it does, I suspect the natural evolution of monetization comes through."
Google launched its own augmented reality kit in August, which will allow developers to make AR apps for Android devices. The company says it able to track motion, understand flat surfaces, and estimate where the light will be for accurate shadows. The aim is to ensure 100 million devices will be AR ready by the end of this year, and then "hundreds of millions" by the end of 2018.
The technology won’t be just for high-end phones like Google's Pixel phone and the Samsung Galaxy S8. Singh says he expects that mid-and-lower-end phones will also get the capabilities over the next two years.
"Augmented reality (will become) a core feature of most of Android over the next few years," he said.
According to the global augmented reality market report, Pokémon Go brought augmented reality into the mainstream, setting app store records in the process. It now poised for significant growth during the forecast period, 2017-2021.
The report highlights the impact AR is already having on marketing trends for increasing customer engagement. Augmented Reality enables smartphone users to point their phones’ cameras at certain objects which can be either a print advertisement or even a coffee cup to activate a 3D video. It says the growing demand for user engagement, along with enhanced customer service across applications like real estate, retail and healthcare, will be key factors driving growth in the market.
Earlier this month, Google revealed it would be opening a new platform called Poly where people can find and distribute virtual and augmented reality objects. The tool is integrated with Tilt Brush and Blocks, Google’s VR painting and sculpting apps.
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