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Experience the world of AR using Lenovo’s first Project Tango smartphone – Phab2 Pro

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At the Lenovo Tech World 2016 Keynote Event, the Chinese manufacturer has finally put all rumors to rest and unveiled the first real and working smartphone sporting Google’s Tango technology – that makes use of several camera’s and sensors to accurately map your surroundings in real-time.

The Lenovo Phab2 Pro is a power-house in terms of internal specifications, and of-course it needs to be – to power the multitude of depth sensing cameras and sensors embedded into the smartphone. The Phab2 Pro has a large 6.4 inch Quad-HD IPS display with a glaring 454 ppi density.

The Phab2 Pro is the premier model among the newly introduced Phab2 line-up, and is powered by the Snapdragon 652 processor, as compared to the MediaTek MTK processors that power the other two models. The device is driven by a 4 GB RAM and has definite 64 GB of on-board storage, while the other two models also have a microSD card slot for memory expansion. It has a 4,000 mAh battery with Fast charging technology, a finger print reader and all the goodness that you’ve come to expect of a high-end Android smartphone.

But, there’s one thing that sets the Phab2 Pro apart from any smartphone in its competition – Google Tango Technology(now renamed from ‘Project Tango’ to just plain ‘Tango’). The Phab2 Pro adds to the mix of impressive features – a 16 MP rear shooter, a wide angle camera and a special depth sensing unit as a part of Tango. The sensing unit has now been shrunken down to be included into a hand-held device, while two years ago when the tech was first demoed at Google I/O(or if you’ve got a chance to use the Developer Kit), it was far from ready.

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The functioning of the technology however is very much similar to that of Microsoft’s Holo Lens, the only difference being their dynamics – the Holo Lens is worn on the head while the Phab2 Pro is a hand-held smartphone. You can use the Phab2 Pro to track an object, map out a particular space or project visual objects into the real world(much like Holo Lens!).

Let’s talk a little bit about what is Tango and how it works.

The Tango technology which was dubbed as ‘Project Tango‘ was Google’s vision to bring computer vision technologies into a hand-held device, supplying those devices with depth-sensing cameras to sense their surrounding and create and accurate 3D-model of the same. Google’s aim was to use the technology into bring Augmented Reality to the masses in the form of a tablet or phone and well we got the best of both world from Lenovo yesterday – a phablet.

As demonstrated during the keynote presentation, you can use the phone with a variety of apps, including some virtual reality shooting games. The technology is at a very basic stage and only a handful of application are currently available for the Lenovo Phab2 Pro. But Lenovo expects to launch over 100 apps compatible with the Tango-powered smartphone by the end of this year.

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But what will be interesting to see that, Google is currently working to develop its own VR platform — Daydream and building its own VR headset and game controllers. So, if the new Tango-powered phones could somehow be compatible with the new VR headset that the Google researchers are building, then it could easily be the next HTC Vive(which has a set of sensors on the front of the headset, that transmits surrounding data to give a perception of depth to the user) or give Holo Lens, a run for its money.

The Phab2 Pro will be up for grabs at Lenovo stores and select retailers in the coming September. The low-end model called the Phab2 will cost $199, while the Phab2 Plus will sell for $299 and Phab2 Pro’s price has been set at $499.


A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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