Android – ARKit vs. ARCore vs. Vuforia vs. D’Fusion Mobile vs. Layar SDK


I would be interested to know, where are the advantages and disadvantages of each vision-based mobile Augmented Reality Frameworks? For what should be decide in which case? Would you choose Vuforia in any case, because it is free and without branding? What are important features are missing in one of the frameworks? Are there limits on the free version of Metaio SDK (except branding and Metaio splash-screen)?

I think these are the most important Frameworks to support iOS and Android. I know that metaio support movie textures and MD2 (Animation) Export and Vuforia not (at least not in the basic state).


  • Here is a 3 hour session reviewed the best Mobile AR SDKs in the market and how to get started with them: Tutorial: Top 10 Augmented Reality SDKs for Developers

  • You should also check out ARLab from Augmented Reality Lab S.L. This has different AR-SDKs for AR Browser, Image Matching, Image Tracking, 3D engine, Virtual buttons. But this is not free.

  • Wikitude's ARchitect SDK has an Vuforia-Extension and Blackberry 10 Support. This could also be very interesting.

  • The Layar SDK is now available for iOS and Android with 3D, animation, AR Video and QR-Code Scanner

  • DARAM also appears a good SDK for Android, iOS, Windows 8 and Mac.

  • ARPA has a Unity-Plugin and a Google Glass SDK.

  • Here is a good comparison chart for Augmented Reality SDKs and frameworks

  • Apple has acquired Metaio. Metaio's future uncertain. (May 28, 2015)

  • Magic Leap Announces Its Augmented Reality Developer SDK for Unreal and Unity

  • Vuforia now has paid licensing and ability to demo apps without a watermark on their no-cost Starter plan – it now appears only during the first app launch in a particular day. This is to support developers who want to do demos to clients without showing the watermark. (May 6, 2015), Qualcomm sell its Vuforia business to PTC (Oct 12, 2015)

  • ARKit iOS 11 introduces ARKit, a new framework that allows you to easily create unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad. By blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, ARKit takes apps beyond the screen, freeing them to interact with the real world in entirely new ways. (Juni 2017)

  • 8th Wall XR is the world's first AR platform that works on all commonly available iOS and Android phones and integrates seamlessly with ARKit and ARCore. (August 2017)

  • ARCore is Google’s answer to Apple’s ARKit. It is designed to bring augmented reality capabilities to all Android phones in a relatively simple way. It’s also replacing the Project Tango, which required specialized hardware to run.

Best Solution

I've used both D'Fusion and Vuforia and here are my feedbacks

D’Fusion (Total Immersion)

D’Fusion solution is a cross-platform tool which mainly supports Web, iPhone, Android plateforms. Main features are the followings:

  • It is more UI based (D’Fusion Studio & D’Fusion CV) and enable to build the whole scenario through the GUI
  • Scenario intelligence is made with LUA
  • Enables you to see a preview of the scenario in the D’Fusion Studio tool
  • OS independant (one bundle scenario works on both Android & iPhone)
  • Plug’N Play (just copy paste the updated scenario in the project)
  • Compatible with Blender and Maya exports (OrgreMax)
  • Supports multi-tag and Face-tracking
  • Supports Unity3D
  • Android (JNI) and iPhone (Lib) are already precompiled

Vuforia (Qualcomm)

Vuforia supports almost the same features and plateforms such as Android and iPhone but is more code base oriented :

  • Vuforia and FastCV tools don’t have UI interfaces
  • Scenario intelligence is made with JNI on Android and Obj-C/C++ (.mm) on Iphone
  • It is less OS independant since both codes have to be done
  • 3D objects are made through the code (vertices array in .h)
  • Supports multi-tag and Face-tracking
  • Supports Unity3D
  • Works perfectly with NinivehGL 3D engine
  • Android (JNI) and iPhone (Lib) need to be recompiled
  • Tracking is more stable and shakes less than D'Fusion
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