The generalization of 3D and augmented reality-based usages has accelerated in recent years. Back in 2016, Google launched Tango, a software platform dedicated to the use of augmented or virtual realities. In order to allow users to localize themselves in their environment, this project was also based on partnerships with smartphone manufacturers (Lenovo, Asus) integrating 3D sensors into their equipment. It was also in 2016 that Niantic launched Pokemon Go!, a mobile augmented reality game app. In 2017, hardware solutions for virtual and augmented realities were further developed, with RA headsets and external 3D sensors. In 2018, Google terminated the Tango project and launched ARCore, an Android SDK dedicated to the development of RA applications (but Google alose stopped its specific partnerships with manufacturers). Apple launched its counterpart, ARKit, on iOS. In 2019, it is not (yet) the explosion of uses; however, new smartphones equipped with 3D sensors are released, that are likely to support such usages as augmented reality, 3D scanning, etc. Original Equipment Manufacturers do their best to encourage the manufacturers of smartphones to integrate their 3D sensors in their telephones. We can imagine that these sensors will be widespread in tomorrow’s smartphones, provided that the manufacturers foresee concrete and massive applications to legitimate the extra cost of a few dollars per device.

Already in 2019, some equipped smartphones are either available or planned in the roadmaps of the manufacturers:
 
  • LThe older generation of Tango compatible phones is no longer manufactured, but there are still some Asus Zenfone AR or Lenovo Phablet2 Pro at prices around 500 €.
  • Huawei seems to invest quite significantly with two devices already available, the Honor V20 and the P30.
  • The next iPhone to come out in 2020 should also be equipped with a 3D sensor, probably from Sony.
  • We can also imagine that the next Sony smartphones will be equipped with its own 3D flight time sensors.

As part of the development of our 3D scanning and augmented reality applications, we will test these different devices as they are released and, if performance is good enough, port our applications on these different platforms. In addition, we are also testing some external 3D sensors to connect to Android or iOS devices. Stay tuned, you’ll know more in a few weeks!


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