In recent weeks, Google has capitalized on the hype surrounding the Star Wars streaming series The Mandalorian with an AR app that was not only exclusive to Android, but also only available for 5G devices.
Now Google is partnering with Red Bull to launch an AR experience that syncs with The last ascent, a documentary about Canadian climber Will Gadd’s 2014 expedition on Mt. Kilimanjaro. While the experience works on iPhones and iPads that support ARKit, and on Android devices that support ARCore, in this case you’ll need a Chromecast with Google TV or another Android TV device.
To access the experience, the Red Bull TV app for Android and iOS must be installed on both your smartphone and an Android TV. Then navigate to The last ascent on your TV.
At the start of the experience, you will find a QR code to scan to open the experience on your smartphone. You scan your environment according to tradition with ARKit and ARCore apps, then anchor the experience on your TV with the on-screen guide. Additional content can be unlocked during the movie.
After you calibrate the experience, you’ll find a 3D replica of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Throughout the film, the trek on the mountain is annotated with additional content and videos to interact with during the experience, including photo galleries, team biographies, virtual gauges displaying altitude and oxygen, and waypoints to view the crew’s location.
The experience was developed by Eyecandylab, the team that previously developed an AR shopping experience with LG Uplus for the South Korean market.
Previously, Red Bull brought Red Bull Air Race into the viewer’s physical environment through the HoloLens and the Flight Deck application.
The brand’s latest experiment is certainly more scalable, as the average consumer is much more likely to have the new Chromecast or an Android TV instead of a HoloLens.
However, it also highlights the fragmentation of app-based mobile AR experiences between Apple and Google’s ecosystems. Sure, the Red Bull TV app is available for iPhones and iPads, but that also means that this segment of consumers is more likely to sign up for the Apple TV ecosystem.
However, if you’re a fan of outdoor exploration and augmented reality, the new Chromecast is priced comfortably enough as an impulse purchase.