The PHAB2 Pro, powered by Tango technology – a set of sensors and software from Google that senses and maps its surroundings -makes a host of cutting-edge smartphone augmented reality (AR) experiences possible.
At Lenovo TechWorld in San Francisco today, the company has finally announced the world’s first consumer Project Tango device: the Phab 2 Pro.
Developed by Google, Project Tango is a way for smartphones and tablets to see the environment like humans do: real-time in three dimensions.
Lenovo says that the PHAB2 Pro will cost $499 at launch.
The Tech World event is a showcase for the Chinese company that most tech watchers in this country first paid attention to 11 years ago when it bought IBM’s PC business and the well-known ThinkPad line of laptops.
Lenovo says the Phab2 Pro will sell for $500 when it begins shipping in the U.S.in August.
Lenovo said it hoped to spur other companies to offer many new “Moto Mods”, as the company calls them.
In concert with the internal orientation sensors, this is what enables Tango functionality. Both devices feature a 6.4-inch display just like the PHAB2 Pro, albeit with different resolution screens as the regular PHAB2 comes with an HD display, while the PHAB2 Plus comes with a Full HD display. Inside is a Quad-Core Qualcomm processor that has been optimized for Tango. Yet, I love the size.
It would mark the first time the technology has been used in a readily available smartphone, with suggestions that it could first be applied to improving indoor mapping apps, as well as enabling users to quickly plot and plan room renovations directly from their phone, previewing potential changes using virtual reality.
The phone, which will go on sale in the United States first in September for 499 USA dollars (£344), can then be used to overlay virtual reality experiences on to the screen that are scaled to the room you are in. Others, such as Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung, are out with virtual reality, or VR, devices. Nonetheless, Tango could raise fresh concerns about privacy if controls aren’t stringent enough to prevent the on-the-fly maps from being shared with unauthorized apps or heisted by hackers.
For all its promise and potential, we wouldn’t expect this first device go mainstream. A Tango app will be made available in the Play Store to make use of Tango.