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Augmented Reality SDK: Which are the best SDKs for AR App Development

March 6, 2017

If augmented reality (AR) were a person, it would be a super adaptive nomad who tends to blend in wherever they go. Virtual reality, on the other hand, would have a more all-consuming dominant personality that just tries to take control of everything. Essentially, AR allows developers to create images, videos, and other content which seamlessly blend in with real-life, while virtual reality presents an entirely generated reality which is often off-putting to new users.

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As per CSS Insights, AR headset sales were predicted to hit $1.2 billion worldwide by the start of this year. While half of all AR revenue comes from hardware sales, there is room for retail and gaming users to generate more revenue in the future. Considering this potential for growth, Digi-Capital says the market can grow to $120 billion by 2020.

Incorporating AR into mobile applications makes up a large part of this growing market. Thus, developers have begun putting together Software Development Kits (SDKs) which allow applications to be created that make use of AR technology at a cost. Webopedia defines an SDK as a programming package that enables a programmer to develop applications for a specific platform. Typically, an SDK includes one or more APIs, programming tools, and documentation.

When paired with mobile apps, AR allows end users to explore, view, and interact with their surroundings in ways that they could have only dreamed of years ago. Statista reports that since 2011, over 92 billion free mobile applications have been downloaded across various app stores- that’s just free applications! As the mobile app industry continues to grow, it’s merely giving developers more places to integrate their technology.

Below is a list of some of the many SDKs that companies across the world can employ to create augmented reality apps for both Android and iOS.

NOTE: Each of the following SDKs can be used to incorporate AR technology with both Android and iOS applications, among many other outlets.

  • ARLab

ARLab has two SDKs- one called ‘arbrowser’, which allows application developers to add geolocation views in an extremely simplified manner and comes with features like video support, custom action capability, and start and stop functions. The second SDK is called ‘image matching’ and is a real-time image recognition engine which is capable of matching thousands of images even without an internet connection.

  • Vuforia

Vuforia is one of the most widely used AR platforms in the world with more than 400 million app installs worldwide. At the time of press, Vuforia allows end users to augment objects, images, text, boxes, and more. There are hundreds of applications which have already started using Vuforia to further develop their mobile applications. To see a list and test them out yourself, click here.

  • Wikitude

Wikitude is one of the many companies paving the way when it comes to AR technology. Wikitude has paved the way for innovation as they have worked toward incorporating AR technology into smartphones, tablets, and even digital eyewear. The company’s SDK products are jam-packed with features like instant tracking, image and cloud recognition, and extended tracking.

  • Catchoom

Catchoom has developed an easy to use AR SDK by the name of CraftAR. The focus of their SDK is allowing developers to create highly branded experiences for their end users, furthering brand awareness and loyalty. Possibly the best thing about this SDK is that users do not need development experience to use it: most of the functions are used on a drag-and-drop basis, which saves lesser funded applications money while allowing them to become more hands-on.

  • DAQRI

DAQRI is a bit different than our other SDK mentions, as it is truly an all-inclusive brand. In addition to DAQRI’s AR platform, they are known for their AR viewing devices like helmets and glasses; they truly are an AR-focused company. Their highly flexible SDK allows developers with little experience to learn the ropes while designing highly augmented mobile applications.

AR is yet another technology which looks to completely transform the way people interact with everyday objects and go through their daily routines. There are certainly advantages to mobile applications becoming more interactive; higher user retention, seamless user experiences, and increased sales to name a few. Mobile applications, as mentioned, have become a huge market globally and every day app stores grow larger and larger- providing a wealth of opportunities for companies looking to seize the chance to incorporate AR technology.