Before Apple start shipping a $1000 smartphone with a 3D, depth-sensing camera system on the front, there was Google’s Project Tango technology… which put 3D, depth-sensing camera technology on the back of a phone or tablet.

Only two commercial smartphones ever shipped with Project Tango, the Asus Zenfone AR and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. And it looks like they’ll be the last: Google has announced it’s “turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018.

But that doesn’t mean the company is giving up on augmented reality. Quite the opposite, in fact.

This week the company launched AR Stickers, which let you drop animated 3D characters into a picture using the camera app on a Pixel phone. Eventually AR Stickers will be available for third-party Android phones, and they just represent one of the first uses of Google’s new ARCore technology, which is basically the company’s answer to Apple’s ARKit.

The idea is to give developers tools to create augmented reality apps that allow you to interact with 3D virtual objects and scenes superimposed on real-world environments using just a regular phone camera and position-tracking software… no super fancy multi-camera, multi-sensor technology required.

ARCore might not be quite as accurate as Tango, since it doesn’t have the same sort of depth-sensing capabilities. But it’s a heck of a lot easier (and cheaper) to implement, which means you won’t necessarily need to buy a special phone to use it.

Google released ARCore developer preview 2 today, and the first stable version of the software development kit is set to launch within the next few months.

via Ars Technica

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9 replies on “Google is pulling the plug on Project Tango in March, 2018”

  1. The Asus Zenfone AR looked like a beast but I’m glad I didn’t go for it. This move is a head scratcher and a head shaker all in one. I agree with the person who said this contact lack of support means not supporting these new ideas because of it. If Google initiates it, we better hold off until other companies endorse it fully, otherwise this.

  2. Google is like a 2 year-old child. Once it gets bored or distracted it drops whatever it is doing and plays with something else. Stay away from Google “projects” like this, or you’ll get burned. There’s no good reason why this should be happening. Big fat companies like Google can afford to develop responsibly, not on the backs of its customers.

    1. On the flip side, thank God someone out there is throwing itself in so many directions to explore new tech; even if they end up pulling the plug before we can see the full potential, they plant seeds for others to perfect the initial idea into an actual product.

  3. Google creates and kills products and services frequently enough that I’m inclined to not adopt anything new from them. I wonder when Google will kill off ARCore. I bet developers are wary of adopting it and potentially wasting their time/money.

    1. Pretty much. Developers get weary, users lose interest, Google becomes the loser.

      I hate to admit it, but I have to commend Apple for starting something and sticking to it despite the skepticism. It instills confidence to developers, and consumers alike. And the fact that they don’t half-ass their attempts also helps.

      I mean Android is awesome, but its inconsistencies and fragmentation are major sore points. So I was so thrilled to learn Google adopting it as AndroidTV, AndroidWear, and Android Auto as a closed-loop system. Well, now I see Android Auto has some stupid bugs, AndroidTV doesn’t run on any of the TV’s I’m interested, and my AndroidWear device no longer receives software support from Google. Meanwhile, my mum’s Apple TV box works great, Apple CarPlay on a friend’s car shows me how great it runs, and that Apple Watch is still leading the industry on wearables. I was wrong on three accounts. Only a fool would write-off Apple’s technological might without proper inspection, I was foolish.

  4. Every time I see one of these projects get killed off, it discourages me from spending my way into a new one.

  5. Intel’s RealSense appears to have also kicked the bucket. Apple’s Real ID has finally hit the market… I wonder how long that will last for.

    1. I think Apple’s Real ID will last. I’m no longer an Apple OR Android Fan Boy, just a phone user. And all I see is that Apple can monetize technology better than others due to their buyers being more interested in buying these $1000+ phones. That will help it last far longer I think.

    2. Having worked with RealSense prototypes and production units, the hardware was sound, but Intel has a very weird habit of poorly marketing its hardware – partnerships with HP and MS to include it in laptops never caught on due to lack of actually trying and a well-defined goal. Apple’s RealID will make it, it’s already a killer feature on the X and they will keep pushing it; if anything, Apple’s marketing will succeed where Intel failed.

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