Google and Lenovo debut the world’s first Tango smartphone, the Phab 2 Pro

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Last night we watched Lenovo’s Tech World conference live from San Francisco, and when the Phab 2 Pro was announced, we marvelled at what was on screen.

You see, unlike most manufacturers that trumpet how great their device’s camera is or how fast it can be unlocked with a finger, Lenovo chose one aspect to focus on – one it teased earlier this year at CES.

The Phab 2 Pro is the first consumer smartphone to support Google’s Project Tango, or Tango as it will now be known according to Johnny Lee, engineering director of Tango at Google. As promised, it will be here before the end of 2016.

The simplest explanation for Tango is that it gives the Phab 2 Pro the ability to sense depth, which allows the handset to map out a physical space, track objects and then project virtual objects into the space. Up until now the tech has only been fitted to a bulky tablet; this is a comparatively small 6.4inch smartphone.

“We know that the market for AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) is set to grow massively over the next five years,” General manager and vice president of Android and Chrome Computing Business Group at Lenovo, Jeff Meredith, said during the conference. “But we also know that in order for any technology to move towards broad-scale adoption, it must become relevant and meaningful in our everyday lives.”

By making Tango easily accessible Lenovo believes that it can make the technology as ubiquitous as the GPS on your smartphone.

On the technical side of things, the Phab 2 Pro has a metallic unibody design that will be available in Champagne Gold and Gunmetal Grey. The display is a hefty 6.4inch IPS QHD (2560×1440) display that hides a Snapdragon 652 chipset underneath it. There is 4GB of RAM to go with that and a 4 000mAh battery to power everything up including the fingerprint scanner at the back.

The real magic of the Phab 2 Pro however, is in its cameras, all four of them.

There is an 8MP snapper at the front and a 16MP sensor at the back. Also at the back is a depth camera and a motion tracking camera to bring the Tango features to life.

This is also the first smartphone to be feature Dolby 5.1 Audio capture and Dolby Atmos Sound.

All of this sounds expensive – very expensive in fact –  but remember, Lenovo wants this tech to spread like wildfire and has priced the Phab 2 Pro at a very tempting $499.

According to Meredith, the handset will be available worldwide from September this year. We’ve reached out to the Lenovo’s local arm to find out whether South Africa is on the list of nations to received the handset.

While we wait for confirmation either way, might we recommend watching the video below to see how you Tango works on a smartphone, we also dare you to keep your jaw up, because we struggled to.

[Source – Lenovo]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.