Google’s Project Tango augmented reality (AR) technology had been flying under the radar, so to speak, for quite awhile since its unveiling two years ago. Lenovo’s announcement of the PHAB2 Pro put a decisive end to that, restoring the technology to the public spotlight as the first consumer-oriented Project Tango device can be bought for less than $500.
The PHAB2 Pro has the following specs powering its Project Tango capabilities:
- Octa-core Snapdragon 652 optimized for Project Tango
- 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
- MicroSD expansion up to 128GB
- 6.4-inch QHD 2560×1440 display
- 4050mAh battery
- Three microphones with spatial capture capability, noise reduction and Dolby Audio Capture 5.1 technology
- Main camera: 16 MP PDAF Fast-Focus, Depth Sensor for Tango, Motion Tracking Sensor for Tango
Project Tango works by employing an array of cameras and sensors to map a 3D virtual reality model of the space surrounding the device. For example, you can make a high-resolution virtual reality model of your living room and try various remodeling ideas without physically moving a single piece of furniture. Popular retail hardware giant Lowe’s is providing a Project Tango-powered app to do just that sort of thing.
Data “overlays” can be used to “augment” a virtual reality environment by displaying virtual annotations as the viewer approaches relevant objects. Conventional examples of augmented reality in action include HGTV’s 360-degree tours for its popular Dream Home and Smart Home giveaways, Niantic Labs’ (owned by Google) Field Trip app and its popular Ingress AR game. Lenovo explains more about its implementation of Project Tango here.
The PHAB2 Pro will become available at Lowe’s and Best Buy for $499 by the end of the year.