Last evening, Lenovo took the stage in Silicon Valley at its second annual technology conference, Tech World 2016. Of all the announcements of the event, one stood out: the world’s first consumer augmented reality smartphone powered by Google’s Project Tango, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
Project Tango, whose name Google has changed to just ‘Tango’, is a platform built by Google that enables devices to be able to place themselves in an environment and interact with it. For instance, if you place a Tango device in a room with four walls, it will be in a position to detect that and know, in real-time, when foreign objects enter the room.
Using the Tango platform, developers can take advantage of such capabilities in devices by building solutions that tie to them like 3D virtual maps making it possible for the device to interact with.
Simply put, it is a camera system that is able to detect physical objects in 3D without the help of technologies like GPS and third parties like developers can build solutions to make it possible for the devices to interact with the objects they detect.
The Lenovo smartphone is an advancement of the prototype tablet that Google had previously provided to developers.
Since it is an augmented reality device, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro packs quite a lot of sensors and other hardware to make that possible. And it’s huge! It has a 6.4-inch display, like the Phab 2 and Phab 2 Plus, the other Lenovo smartphones also announced last night. Unlike them, though, its display is a Quad HD panel and has a Snapdragon 652 processor in place of the MediaTek chips found on the other Lenovo Phab 2 phones.
For its AR credentials and Tango certification, it has a wide-angle camera and special depth-sensing unit at the back to be able to map out its surroundings. That is on top of the 8 and 16-megapixel sensors on the front and back respectively for your usual smartphone use. That comes with some sacrifices. Like the weight of the device burgeoning to 259 grams and the thickness to an unsightly 10.7mm (what are thin devices?). Other specifications include 4 GB RAM and 64 GB onboard storage which is expandable via the second SIM slot, a fingerprint sensor, a 4,050mAh battery as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
When the device finally goes on sale, Lenovo will make available a special app store for Tango-centered content. The device will start being available in August when it goes on sale online globally. It will cost $500 and be available in Champagne Gold and Gunmetal Grey colour options.