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Image credit: Chris Velazco/Engadget

Google's mobile augmented reality platform arrives in China

Xiaomi is offering ARCore through its app store.

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Chris Velazco/Engadget

Google's ARCore is helpful for making augmented reality widely available to Android users, but there's a glaring problem: it requires the Play Store to get updates. That's no good in countries like China, where Google's services are either unavailable or blocked. Thankfully, Google has a workaround. It's now making ARCore available in China through the Xiaomi App Store. You'll need Xiaomi's Mi Mix 2S to take advantage of the AR features, but this beats having to sit on the sidelines while the rest of the world uses immersive apps.

More ARCore partners are "coming soon," Google teased.

The search giant isn't a stranger to this kind of end run. When it wanted to bring Android Wear to China, it initially teamed up with Mobvoi to make the platform available. And in both cases, the motivation is the same. If Google didn't make the technology available in China, it risked ceding control of key technology to either third-party Android developers or direct competitors like Apple (whose ARKit is readily available in China). No matter how ARCore fares in the country, this keeps Google's foot in the door.

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