Google's ARCore framework hits version 1.0

We reported on the death of Google's Project Tango and the repackaging of some of its tech into the ARCore framework a couple of months back. The company is taking advantage of the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as an opportunity to launch the promised 1.0 version of the platform. The search giant already released two developer previews and says that today's 1.0 release works on 13 different smartphones occupying at least 100 million pockets. The company also talked up improvements and expanded availability of the Lens photo analysis app.

The 13 phone models with ARCore 1.0 support are: Asus' Zenfone AR, Google's Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, LG's V30 and V30+ (with Android Oreo only), OnePlus's OnePlus 5, and Samsung's Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+, and Note8. Google says that future versions will support models from Nokia (HMD), Huawei, Motorola, Sony Mobile, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. Developers without access to a supported phone can use the emulator bundled in the latest Android Studio beta. Google also intends to bring ARCore to China, and Ars Technica's Ron Amadeo says the company will even allow devices without Google Play to use the ARCore platform.

There are already a handful of applications using ARCore, including a portal to FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium created by Snapchat, Sotheby's International Realty interior visualization tool, and an app that puts Porsche's Mission E concept car in users' driveways.

As for Google's Lens app, the big news arrives from the availability front. The company says that within the next few weeks, Lens will be available to all English-language users of the latest Google Photos on Android and iOS. Google also says the realtime camera-based Lens capability in Google Assistant that's currently available on the Pixel 2 will come to more "compatible flagship devices" in the same time frame. The company says it'll be adding support for more devices later on.

Google says its engineers have been hard at work adding features to Lens, including text selection capabilities and the ability to create contacts from a photo with one tap. The next feature coming down the pipe is the ability to recognize common animals and plants, including different dog breeds and types of flowers.

ARCore version 1.0 launches on compatible flagship Android smartphones immediately. Google Lens will be expanding its footprint on Android and iOS in the coming weeks.

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