Samsung and Google just hooked up to combat the iPhone's biggest advantage

Ikea augmented reality app. (Source: Ikea)

Samsung has signed a new partnership with Google to develop augmented reality capabilities for its smartphones.

Augmented reality came into mainstream consciousness when the Pokemon Go game became a global phenomenon in 2016. The concept differs from virtual reality in that it does not require a headset to be worn, and superimposes 3D images into real-life settings.

Apple has pushed AR on its latest iPhones as a no-headset alternative to Samsung’s strength in VR. The strategy has gathered momentum with iPhone AR apps now created by big-name third parties like IKEA – allowing smartphone users to see what furniture would look like in their own living room.

Marketing experts have even called AR “a game changer” unprecedented since the launch of the smartphone.

“It is really a first in the true convergence of the physical and the digital. It is well poised to become mainstream quickly,” Huge chief executive Aaron Shapiro told Business Insider last month.

Now Samsung is fighting to claw back Apple’s head start by partnering with the owner of Android. Google’s ARCore software development kit will now allow third parties to create AR apps on the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note8.

The phone manufacturer announced at its developer conference in San Francisco that the partnership would offer “new business opportunities for developers” and “a new platform for creating immersive new experiences for consumers”.

Samsung research vice president Pranav Mistry said his company would integrate machine learning and image recognition into AR to allow devices to understand and identify the objects seen within the camera, for richer interactive possibilities.

The journalist travelled to San Francisco courtesy of Samsung Australia.

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