What are ARCore and ARKit? Best Augmented Reality Toolkit for Building Apps

Sector: Digital Product, Future Tech

Author: Nisarg Mehta

Date Published: 01/22/2018

What are ARCore and ARKit Best Augmented Reality Toolkit for Building Apps

AR or Augmented Reality is the future of technology. It is a blend of physical and digital environment. The word “augment” is originated by “augmented” which means to add or enhance something. In the case of augmented reality or AR, the graphics, touch, sound are added to the physical environment to create an enhanced user experience.

People often confuse augmented reality with virtual reality while in actual both of them are different. In virtual reality, you are immersed into the virtual world while in augmented reality virtual elements are overlaid onto the real world. It has emerged as one of the focal points by imparting its services and access to it to the consumer market.

Battle between Apple and Google

The term was coined in the 1990’s but was discovered by most of the people after the launch of PokemonGo game in 2016. After that Apple decided to make AR available on its phone with its ARKit. Following the footsteps of Apple, even Google decided to announce the release of its own AR namely ARCore.


ARKit is a new framework that allows a user to create augmented physical experiences for the devices like iphone or ipad of Apple company. ARKit can only be executed on an ios device with processor A9 or higher than A9. It allows the user to engage with the real world in entirely new ways. It is a combination of the three key elements: motion tracking, environmental understanding and light estimation.

1. Motion Tracking:

ARKit has this extra ordinary feature using which you can track the positioning of the device in the real world. This feature is known as Visual Inertial Odometer (VIO). Visual inertial odometer combines the motion sensor data with the device’s camera tracking which then helps to trace the exact real-time location of the device.

2. Environmental Understanding:

The ARKit is aware of the environment for it detects the horizontal surfaces like chairs, tables, floor, walls, ceiling etc. in the real world. This feature is also known as ‘Plane Detection’. The iPhones and iPads can easily analyse a plane by using the camera view.

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3. Light Estimation:

The camera sensors are used by the ARKit to make an estimate of the total amount of light present in a scene and accordingly proper light sources are applied to establish continuity. Thus, a user can perceive an object more accurately within a given space.


The ARCore framework is compatible for Google device, most of them being Android. ARCore was created in order to give a tough competition to the rival ARKit of the company Apple. Google had already developed something similar which raises the question – “Is ARCore the new Tango?”

Well, no it’s not Tango but one can say that ARCore is the successor of Tango. ARCore and Tango are the two different projects of Google. Tango was launched long before the launch of ARCore and it functions on the external hardware like cameras and the sensors. The three important aspects of ARCore are –

1. Motion Tracking:

Like ARKit uses Virtual Inertial Odometer, similarly ARCore uses IMU which stands for Inertail Mesaurement Unit. It helps in determining the surrounding space to determine the position of our Android device.

2. Environmental Understanding:

An ARCore detects the planes or horizontal surfaces in an area. This feature is quite similar to that of ARKit.

3. Light Estimation:

ARCore detects the lighting automatically of the place around the device which forms a better appearance of virtual visuals for the users.

Final Word On the Winner!

When we compare the two realities – ARKit and ARCore, it is definitely clear that the Google holds a teeny tiny advantage since it has a distinct ability in mapping – ability to gather and store localization information about the 3D real world that can be used for localization later. ARKit utilizes a so-called ‘sliding window’ which only stores a limited amount of location data constrained to the ‘recent past’.

Alternatively, ARCore has the ability to manage much larger map data leading to a more stable data set. Basically, ARKit and ARCore are quite similar applications. Both of the applications use Java/OpenGL coding programs to utilise environment understanding, motion sensors and light detection. But at the end, it is a win-win situation for Google. It is like imaging your life and suddenly a thing happens.

In conclusion, ARKit and ARCore are generally neck to neck competitors in the market. While ARKits have merits like hardware and consumer market value, ARCore is ahead of ARKit as it provides with mapping and worldwide accessibility, in specific terms. Therefore, Googles’ ARCores is better than ARKit.

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