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Android Oreo 8.1 brings AR Stickers to Pixel 2 and Pixel phones

Google’s is finally bringing its augmented reality (AR) stickers supported through its ARCore to Android and the Play Store, providing you have a Pixel phone.

Revealed at the same time as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets, Google’s ARCore provides the framework for supporting AR images on Android devices without the need for dual camera arrays and depth sensors.

The framework supports AR Stickers, a feature and app that allows users to superimpose images of virtual animated objects and characters, including an anamorphic pizza and Google’s own Android robot, over whatever is being view by a phone’s camera.

Providing you have one of the Pixel 2 phones or an original Pixel handset, you can simply download the update to Android 8.1 being currently rolled out by Google, and the AR Stickers feature will appear in the settings on the Pixel phones’ camera app. From there its simply a case of selecting a character and placing them into whatever environment you’re viewing through you phone’s camera.

Android Oreo 8.1 has not rolled out to our Pixel 2 XL at the time of writing, so we couldn’t see the AR Stickers in action for ourselves, but various reports paint AR Stickers in a positive light, with the AR characters fitting nicely into scenes and matching the lighting of the environment.

However, the AR effects breakdown when someone walks in front of the camera causing a character to be superimposed onto them not the target object. This could be down to ARCore shunning the need for a depth sensor, or simply indicate that the underlying AR framework is in its early days.

Both the ARCore framework and the AR Stickers are available to download from the Play Store, which would suggest that other Android phones will soon get support for the Google AR features.

More handsets with access to an AR framework would certainly help the rather niche area of tech have more of an impact beyond the Pixel handsets and hit semi-AR game Pokemon Go.

Related: Best Android phones of 2017

Does AR appeal to you or is it too much of a gimmick? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook. 

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