ARCore + ARkit = Half a Billion Devices by Year-End (new report)

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There's been lots of talk about mobile AR's opportunity. And the best way to quantify that is through the installed base of AR-compatible devices in the market. So ARtillry set out to do just that in its latest report, accessible through VRARA's ARtillry Insights subscription

The verdict: There will be 505 million AR-compatible smartphones by the end of 2017 and 4.2 billion by 2020. That may seem like steep growth, but is a function of hardware replacement cycles for iOS and Android (2.5 years) which will happen rapidly (methodology below).  

One question is which AR platform is positioned better for growth and market share? It won’t be a winner take all market, just as iOS and Android have coexisted for years. And there is evidence that they’ll have some compatibility, or at least portability of graphical assets.

But they’ll still compete on many levels, and there are signals that indicate competitive differentiation on both sides. Google has greater scale and a technical lead from years invested in Tango. But Apple has more control over the hardware in its classic vertical integration.

In terms of reach, Apple has the short run advantage, based on a more unified hardware and software set that supports wider compatibility with ARkit, But Android will have the longer term scale as compatibility cycles into the much larger android universe.

ARkit and ARCore also carry their parents’ DNA. For Apple, it’s all about apps. For Google, the web. For developers making a platform choice, that means ARCore could reach more users, but ARkit couldbe more monetizable though app revenue models (dowloads, in-app purchases).

There's a lot more to it of course, and you can get a video summary below, and the full report here. Stay tuned for ongoing coverage as ARCore and ARkit continue to evolve and get deployed by mobile AR developers. it will be an exciting time.

Methodology: ARtillry's forecasting involves a unit-penetration model based on cumulative smartphone sales that go back 10 quarters (average replacement cycle), while also factoring in AR compatibility (for example, A9 chips or greater for ARkit, and Android 7.0 for ARCore). 

Mike Boland

Michael Boland is Chief Analyst and VP of Content for BIA/Kelsey, covering online and mobile media. Mike is a frequent speaker at top industry conferences such as BIA/Kelsey events, Search Engine Strategies, ad:tech, and WHERE 2.0. He has authored in-depth reports on the changing local media landscape including online video, social networking and mobile. He contributes regularly to highly read online news sources such as Business Insider and the Huffington Post. A trusted source for reporters covering the interactive media space, his comments have appeared in major news and trade media, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Forbes. Previously he was a San Francisco-based freelance writer for business and technology magazines, such as Red Herring, Business 2.0, and Mobile Magazine. Mike began his career in business analysis and journalism as a staff reporter for Forbes magazine, where he covered tech & media.