Vuforia vs. Metaio SDK vs. ARKit 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).

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  • Edit:

    • 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)

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  • 4 Solutions collect form web for “Vuforia vs. Metaio SDK vs. ARKit vs. D'Fusion Mobile vs. Layar SDK”

    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

    I Have used both Metaio and Vuforia :
    in my opinion Vuforia is best option as a free of cost and good tracking. Here are some points:


    1. With metaio you can develop very fast.
    2. Various tracking are supported e.g. marker, image targets, marker-less, 3D object tracking also.
    3. You have to code separately for iOS and Android.
    4. Paid SDK (Commercial license)
    5. You can play MD2 animations of about to 100 frames.
    6. I faced flickering in tracking.


    1. Development is sort of time consuming but once you developed an app , you cleared path.
    2. Tracking ImageTargets, markers, video playing, imagebuttons(this is not in Metaio).
    3. You have to code separately, but if you go with Unity you have to code Once.
    4. Now Vuforia is also come with pricing model on based of no of target scans.
    5. With Unity you can play Animation.
    6. Tracking is flicker-less.

    I just used the Metaio SDK Mobile framework. The framework has great potential but has a pretty bad documentation. This highly focused to show 3D objects in front of “real tags”, but for a classic AR (with bubbles indicating coordinates) quite a few things are missing. For example I had to implement my own radar because the framework offers none.
    I develop the iphone version of one App with this, but in the Android version I know that exist some problems with rotation and some compatibility with recent devices.
    The problem is that in the metaio apps all work (and also they have radar) but in the framework not appear to be the same.

    I don’t know the other frameworks but i recomend you to lose some time trying with a free one. You can try metaio for free and if see that it works fine for you, then buy the payed version.

    Metaio also supports cross platform development using AREL in HTML5 based apps


    Metaio also supports Edge Based Tracking which is very robust and does not suffer from lighting or texture condition changes.

    For simple Location Based AR using GPS etc. This can be achieved without the need for any 3rd Party AR SDK.

    Apple have free source code for this here:

    Vuforia have a very useful feature called extended tracking which allows tracking of the environment even when the original marker is no longer in view. This is a great feature and worth investigating.

    As for Layar I was not convinced

    Android Babe is a Google Android Fan, All about Android Phones, Android Wear, Android Dev and Android Games Apps and so on.