Alphabet Launching ARCore at Mobile World Congress

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Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) said Friday that it is launching its augmented reality (AR) software development kit for Android, ARCore 1.0, at next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The company said it also plans to roll out new support for developers and updating its Google Lens software tools.

The ARCore kit has been in preview mode for some time but will now be available to third-party developers to build apps for high-end Android-based devices like Google’s Pixel phone. It’s one way that Alphabet can raise its visibility in the high-end smartphone market that is currently dominated by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).

The company also noted that it is supporting smartphones sold by Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung in China.

Google has partnered with several companies to create a partner showcase when the product launches. Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) has created an AR app that places the viewer in the stadium of FC Barcelona. An app from Sotheby’s International Realty enables user to visualize different room interiors inside their own homes and an app from Porsche shows what a Porsche Mission E concept car would look like parked in a viewer’s own driveway.

For China-based users, place furniture and over 100,000 other pieces with Easyhome Homestyler. See items and place them in your home when you shop on JD.com. Or play games from NetEase, Wargaming and Game Insight.

Google Lens is an Android and iOS artificial intelligence (AI) app that lets users point their smartphone camera at a subject and use Google Assistant to tell them what it is they’re looking at.

Google is also showing off the first of its Android Go-power smartphones in Barecelona. Android Go is specifically designed for lower-cost devices.

The Mobile World Congress show officially begins Monday, February 26, but there are plenty of announcements scheduled for the weekend, including an expected launch of Samsung’s newest smartphone, the S9.