I wake up today and was thrilled to read about Google’s new AR feature called Cloud Anchors. The feature allows creating collaborating multi-user AR experiences that share the same virtual space. Any digital content or interaction done using one device is synchronized over multiple phones at the same exact place in real-time.
Furthermore, this tool is available for both Android and iOS, allowing users to create shared AR apps and games. I first thought that this feature is only ARCore exclusive, and I was blown away reading that Google made it with iOS support as well via a dedicated library for ARKit.
You can start using it right now!
Even more exciting is knowing that Cloud Anchors is available for developers right now. I also found a quickstart guide for Cloud Anchors in iOS.
Cloud Anchors Compatible Devices
Regarding supported device. Cloud Anchors requires an ARKit-compatible iPhone running iOS version 11 or later. So it only works on iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and iPhone SE.
For those of you who have the iPad (like myself), you are out of luck as ARCore 1.2 that employ this new feature, and I quote: “ARCore 1.2 does not support targeting iPad“. So I guess it’s time to buy a supported iPhone or a compatible Android phone if I want to be able to use Cloud Anchors-based AR experiences.
So what developers will be doing, from my understanding, is adding ARCore SDK to their project and configure it to work with their app. There is even a sample app that you can test out if you are a developer.
Multiplayer Cross-platform AR Games
Developers can use Cloud Anchors feature and start developing multiplayer augmented reality games that are cross-platform between Android and iOS.
It’s important to keep in mind that ARCore works on selected devices as it requires special hardware to run. However, there are already more than 100 millions devices on the market that are ARCore compatible as of the time of writing.
It’s important to keep in mind that ARCore is still and Android-only AR framework, but this feature was designed to work on ARKit as well and utilizes its hardware to achieve that over-cloud synchronized AR objects positioning functionality.
So overall, fantastic news for AR developers. I personally can’t wait to explore the possibilities of this new technology and what development opportunities it brings with it.