The idea of augmented reality isn't new, but the world of smartphones is looking to push it forward in a big way. As with any platform, both product demand and technological advancements have to catch up to the industry before it can become a viable solution for daily consumer life. Apple and Google are working to introduce the smartphone consumer to AR for the first time with basic features for now.
Google's AR Stickers (now Google Playground) recently got an overhaul to allow much more interaction between their AR characters, which adds some new unique experiences to the mix. The new Google Playground feature only officially works with Pixel smartphones, but I'll show you how your ARCore supported phone can get it right now as well — no root required. This mod from from developer Arnova8G2, recently highlighted by the XDA portal team, can make it happen without having to jump through hoops.
Right now this mod will only work on Android 9 Pie devices that officially support the ARCore platform (outside of Google's Pixel line of smartphones, which come with it). There's a good chance you might have one or know someone who does, because just about all of the most popular devices support the platform right now.
Popular ARCore Supported Devices
- Google: From the Nexus 5X all the way up to the Pixel 3 XL.
- LG: From the G6 to G7, and the V30 to the V40.
- Motorola: Moto G5S Plus, Moto G6, Moto Z2 to Z3.
- OnePlus: From the OnePlus 3T all the way up to the OnePlus 6T.
- Samsung: Galaxy S7 through Galaxy S9; Galaxy Note 8 and Note 9.
Now that you've determined your device has ARCore compatibility, you need to download the ARCore platform from the Play Store if you don't already have it.
- Play Store Link: ARCore by Google
Now that the ARCore platform is installed, the next step is to download the modded Google Playground app so you can get the awesome Avengers AR stickers onto your device. The file is around 467 MB, so it might take a few minutes to download. It contains all of the newest AR stickers and features, just like you would get from Google's Pixel devices.
Now that the modded app has been downloaded to your device, you must install the file like you would any other app. Assuming you downloaded the file with your phone through a web browser, tap the notification when the download is finished. If you have to, grant access the system so that it will install apps that did not come directly from the Google Play Store. Alternately, if you want to install it later, you can browse through your file manager app of choice and reinstall it from there. Once the app finishes installing, you won't be able to use it yet, so just tap "Done."
Now that you've downloaded the ARCore platform and the Google Playground modded app, the final step is to install the modded Google Camera app. The camera app is where you go to use and interact with the AR stickers, so this is another vital part to make the whole thing work. Go through the list and find a modded camera app that corresponds with your ARCore compatible device.
Now that the camera mod has been downloaded you can install it just like you did with the Google Playground app from the previous step. Once it finishes, go ahead and tap "Open" to get started with the next step to using the AR stickers. You can always get back to the camera from the app drawer of your home launcher just like any other app.
Now that the camera app is open, scroll through the list at the bottom to find the "More" section and then tap the "Playground" icon. It will take you to a new screen where you can interact with the AR stickers and create some exciting scenes. Tapping the smiley face sticker icon with the blue notification dot will bring up your list of stickers you can use.
We wanted to try out the Avengers sticker pack, so to do that, check under the "Featured" section, then scroll down a little bit and you'll see 5 stickers to choose from at this time. Since this a mod, most things will be labeled as "Missing Name." Tap any of the characters to drop them onto the AR field — add more characters to the scene, and then watch what happens!
Feel free to experiment with different poses, character combinations, and even your own on-screen text. This is a fun gimmicky introduction to what AR is and what it can do, but look out for more advanced AR features in the future.
Note: You will notice some battery drain and a little extra heat from your device while using AR apps for an extended period. AR requires a lot of power to work correctly, so this is entirely normal for the time being until battery and other technologies continue to advance in the future.
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