The technology behind AR (augmented reality) has existed for decades now, but it has finally gone mainstream only until recently. With social media apps like Snapchat making AR popular with its filters and games like Pokémon GO introducing AR in a fun way, the craze is only building.
Apple has enjoyed a front seat in the AR revolution thanks to its ARKit program, but now Google is catching up with the ARCore platform. Luckily, you can already find some of the best AR Android apps on the Google Play Store already, and we’ve sorted it all out for you.
Related: AR apps and games we want on Android
Let’s check out some apps that are already available on Android.
1. Sky Map
For all the stargazers out there, augmented reality connects the dots in the infinite universe and shows a different picture of the sky with the Sky Map. Originally developed and supported by Google, Sky Map is now an open-source project for aspiring astronomers to use their Android device and find the celestial bodies in the space.
All you need to do to get started is calibrate your device’s compass and point the device up towards the sky to get an augmented view of what lies above. With quick shortcuts to specifically view constellations, nebulas, and planets in our solar system, you’ll always have a planetarium in your pocket with the Sky Map.
Love may not be forever, but permanent tattoos definitely are, which is why you need to be smart about the ones you get. There’s no way to guarantee how a tattoo will turn out to be, but an app called INKHUNTER helps you see exactly how a tattoo design would look in real time on your skin.
Packed with dozens of stylish tattoo designs of its own, INKHUNTER also allows you to pick up designs you have saved in your gallery. Simply select the tattoo and point the phone camera to the part of your body where you’d want the tattoo, and the app will display it in AR right away.
You’d consider the art of being able to beautifully sketch as something that cannot be acquired, but SketchAR changes this perspective. Loved by professional artists and those who always need guiding lines to help them draw, this app offers you the ability to learn the basics of sketching with real-time guidance.
Simply select one of the several objects available in the inventory and point your phone’s camera to the empty white sketchbook or canvas. The app will create an AR hologram over the canvas with guidelines on how to begin sketching – from the shades to use, to the intensity of the outlines that you need to put in.
The closest some of us came to parenting all the way back in childhood was when we had to look after, feed, and raise your very own virtual pet. All of this was made possible with just a little gadget that helped you keep a close watch on your Tamagotchi, introduced by Bandai Namco all the way back in the 90s.
Thanks to the AR push, this retro virtual pet is coming to life in a different dimension on Android with My Tamagotchi forever. From feeding your adorable pet to keeping them entertained and happy, this app will not only make the kids fall in love with Tamagotchis, but make us adults reminisce the old childhood days too.
Shopping for furniture has always been a physical task and for the couch potatoes out there, the task of shopping for furniture online is going to get a lot simpler, thanks to Pottery Barn. Powered by augmented reality to bring a 3D Room View, this app gives you a new perspective on how a piece of furniture would look in your living space.
Pottery Barn 3D Room View app gives you a virtual environment where you can edit, remove, and even add new pieces of furniture and decor elements in freeform. All of these products come from the official catalog of items that the brand sells, which makes it so much simpler to redesign your personal space.
Previously made popular under the name colAR Mix, Quiver is one of a kind app that combines the physical creative art of coloring and adds a third dimension to it. Ideal for the cognitive minds of the young ones, Quiver comes with a set of characters to choose from not just the Animal Kingdom, but several educational pages (Volcano, Earth etc.) as well.
This app is available absolutely free, and all you need to do is print the marked pages in grayscale. Once your little one colors up the characters, they can use the Quiver app to bring alive their creation and interact with them in real time with touch interaction and even sounds.
Why should the fun of AR stickers be limited to Google Pixel phones when your Android has the hardware to support it? Holo is a stunning addition to the social media scene on Android devices with the goal of creating immersive and highly entertaining AR-powered photos and videos the easy way.
With a massive library full of funny characters, famous celebrities, real-life animals and more, you can simply pick and go forward. The app not only supports complete editing features with sound effects, but comes with social media integration so you can share all of your creative videos right away.
Until now, AR was either an entertainment accessory or just a fun way to enjoy social media, but now it is making its way into the business world. One app that is building towards this purpose is Augment, which is here to help you bring 3D models alive in augmented reality.
Whether you’re a realtor who wants to make their brochures more interactive, an interior decorator who wants to help customers visualize your designs, or a publisher looking to make their books come alive with 3D AR illustrations, Augment can help you do all of this and more.
9. Stack It AR (game)
This addictive game idea which is basically the opposite of Jenga has existed for quite a while, but never in AR until now. Stack It AR offers you a way to spend hours stacking up virtual blocks higher and higher, until it all tumbles down in an amazing AR way.
All you need to do is launch the game, point to where you want to start stacking up the blocks and you’re set. You can not only move around to see how well the blocks have been stacked up and where your next move should set down, but also challenge your friends in a duo to see who’s the champion stacker among you.
Being more than two decades old, there’s a good chance that this shopping app has already a home in your mobile app drawer, but did you know that is now comes packing AR capabilities? But instead of offering a cheap gimmick that involves augmented reality, eBay has added AR technology to solve a grave issue for sellers when trying to find the box size they need to ship their products.
This feature is called “Which Box” and now comes built into the eBay mobile app, allowing you to easily find the shipping container size needed for a product you’re selling. Using the camera and the power of ARCore, app virtually measures the dimensions of the package you want to send out and suggests the appropriate box size.
11. Just a Line
This little gem comes directly from Google itself, and hopes to be the next great thing in the world of social media sharing which makes the most out of augmented reality. Just a Line makes the world your canvas, where you can doodle away to bring to beautiful AR creations to life.
The app is pretty straightforward, simply create a drawing or a doodle on the screen while the camera is turned on by the app, and hit the record button to create your very own augmented reality video to blow away your social media peers.
Testing the AI aspect that can be brought into the world of augmented reality, TendAR is a game/experience that is built around Google ARCore and Google Cloud API focusing on computer vision and object recognition.
Now that we have the technical details out of the way, TendAR puts you in power of Guppy, a virtual fish (which is so much more) that directly responds to facial expressions of users, and survives in the virtual realm by “eating” emotions of other people for food.
If you thought games like Pokemon GO were pushing the boundaries between the virtual and real world, wait till you get some zombie killing action in AR with The Walking Dead: Our World game. This unique game puts you in a post-apocalyptic world, which is built right on top of your real world, offering some stunning location-based gaming.
Team up with the brave survivors of the zombie outbreak – Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and others to fight in your real world and get the Walkers before they get you. From completing exciting weekly challenges to teaming up with friends in real life to survive and create a society, while reclaiming your city from the dead.
Do you have any other incredible AR app that you’d like to see on this list? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.