Google has announced that it has collaborated with Xiaomi to bring ARCore technology that enables both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to phones in China. At the moment, Google will work with Xiaomi but plans are underway to add more partners to serve the Mainland China region. Huawei and Samsung have already signed contracts to supply ARCore apps in China in the near future. The ARCore technology will be made available to users via Xiaomi’s Mix 2S devices on Xiaomi App Store.
In the recent past, Google also partnered with Tencent to collectively invest in several China-based startups including the XtalPi, a biotech-focused firm and Chushou, a live-streaming service in China. Furthermore, Google has gained presence in Taiwan through the purchase of a huge chunk in HTC. The company has also launched services in Shenzhen and other places.
The Main Challenge Is Distribution
Though Google is attempting to return to China, its core distribution channel, Google Play Store is restricted in the country. Furthermore, China has a fragmented landscape consisting of numerous third-party Android app stores. Hence, Google can only rely on third parties such as Xiaomi and Huawei to help reach its consumers through their own app stores.
Unlike Wear OS, ARCore entails close technical collaboration with manufacturers for it to be useful to the user. Hence the first device to feature it will be the Mi Mix 2S phone that offers great augmented reality experience.
For the past few years, Google has been negotiating with the Chinese government to allow the use its Play Store in the country but the discussions have not materialized yet. Currently, Google’s Wear OS is the only means in which the consumers in China are enjoying the great AR experience. The wearable apps can be downloaded from both Huawei and Mobvoi’s app stores.
Google Is Determined To Make Ends Meet
During the recent Google’s annual I/O developer conference in Asia, Google stated that it intends to expand the capabilities of its AR platform to allow developers to design more engaging AR experiences through the cloud both on Android or iOS.
Google’s ARCore technology platform was launched in February and it recently obtained several new features at I/O 2018. Generally, ARCore requires a smartphone that has Android 7.0 and above and a Google Play Store app to obtain updates to AR element or download apps from third-party developers, which is not available in some places such as China where Google Play Store is blocked.