FOSTER CITY, Calif. — Ever since last year’s Pokemon Go craze, interest in augmented reality (AR)-driven applications has been on the rise. After all, who can resist seeing 3-D cartoon characters seemingly inhabiting the real world around us via our smartphone screens?

As successful and eye-opening as Pokemon Go has been for the concept of augmented reality, however, it really wasn’t the way most people in the tech industry thought AR would come to the public’s attention.

Original expectations for augmented and virtual reality were primarily focused on goggle-like head-worn displays such as the HTC Vive, Sony’s Playstation VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Recently, however, there’s been an increasing recognition that widespread availability and adoption of glasses-like AR devices is still several years off.

As a result, there’s been a great deal more attention focused on creating AR applications for smartphones. At the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, Apple created a lot of buzz with the announcement of ARKit, a set of software tools that iOS app developers can use to more easily create AR-based apps for iPhones and iPad apps. Numerous app developers have already started sharing their early efforts (just search the web for ARKit demos and you’ll find lots of cool examples), and Apple is expected to make a big deal about some of these ARKit-enabled apps at the upcoming iPhone launch event expected to occur on Sept. 12.

Not to be outdone, earlier this week Google unveiled its answer to ARKit — the similarly-named ARCore for Android devices.

Initially, ARCore…