Today at their event, Lenovo announced the world’s first Project Tango-enabled smartphone thanks to a partnership between them and the Tango team at Google. The firm has stated multiple times that the device is indeed a “phablet” since it’s so big and capable of such intense computing and, obviously, the fact that they’re proud of it.
Meet the PHAB2 Pro, a 6.4-inch smartphone with Tango built-in. This device features an all-metal body, a QHD display which builds in Lenovo’s new “Assertive Display” technology, capable of adapting to current lighting conditions and content being displayed, a special edition octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor with Qualcomm’s Fluence Pro feature for better noise isolation, 4GB of RAM which is quite necessary for delivering good graphics as a part of AR and Tango, and a hefty 4,050mAh battery which sould get you through around 4 hours of AR fun.
The PHAB2 Pro doesn’t feature just one camera mounted on the rear for taking pictures and using AR, no. This device has three separate sensors, all with different purposes. There’s a 16MP primary wide-angle camera which features OIS and 4K video capture meant for snapping pics, a motion tracking camera for recording different movements the device makes to make the AR experience more immersive, and a depth camera which can measure three-dimensional objects and remember what goes where in its field of view. Pretty cool, right?
As far as audio, to make the experience even better, Lenovo built-in Dolby Audio Capture 5.1 and Dolby Atmos for fantastic sound recording and playback.
Of course, as you can tell by these specs, the PHAB2 Pro is built for and around Tango. Capabilities of AR are practically endless. You can play games, remodel your home, and learn about prehistoric creatures, all without ever putting down your phone.
As per The Verge,
Using the Tango features, the Phab 2 Pro can map out a physical space, track objects, and project virtual effects in a real-world space. Lenovo is demonstrating the technology with a variety of apps, including virtual reality-style shooting games; an educational app, made in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History; and a domino app that lets you set up Rube Goldberg-like contraptions with virtual pieces. Prior Tango demos have shown how it can be used to navigate an indoor space or provide contextual information based on the object it is looking at.
Lenovo also had a presenter from Lowe’s come on alongside Nicole Curtis from Rehab Addict to talk about the company’s new app they’ll be launching around Christmas time. It’ll allow users to browse the home improvement store’s large inventory and place virtual versions of it around their house using the cameras and mapping system Tango features. This will help when one is trying to redecorate a room or needs to put a certain piece of heavy furniture somewhere five different times just to see what it looks like. Lowe’s says that alongside the launch of their app at the end of the year, they’ll also be selling the PHAB2 Pro during the holiday season. So while you’re out getting that “last” box of white lights for the tree, you can pick up yourself the first Tango-enabled smartphone. One word: convenient.
If you watched them, you know that Lenovo’s demos of Tango running on the PHAB2 Pro weren’t that smooth. Some of the presenters were having some difficulty with the measurement tools, while other were experiencing app crashes. So obviously, Lenovo needs to do some work on their software before it goes mainstream. Otherwise, we’re gonna have some unhappy faces when customers receive their new phablets (What? I had to use it one other time).
Lenovo expects 100 Tango-oriented apps to be available on the Play Store by the end of the year, so hurry up developers! You’ve only got six months left!
Shockingly, the PHAB2 Pro will only cost $499 when it launches in select retailers (like Best Buy) this September. Of course, that’s probably with just 32GB of storage, however that’s still relatively inexpensive for a phone such as this one.
Something that wasn’t mentioned at today’s event was Lenovo’s upgraded PHAB2 and PHAB2 Plus smartphones. These new handsets feature 6.4-inch screens like the PHAB2 Pro, however don’t share the same resolution. Not much is known about these devices, however we’ll let you know when we obtain more information.
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