2016 is set to be a historic year for Google in regards to their smartphones. Just this month, the technology giant announced to arrival of their two new flagship smartphones, the Pixel and the Pixel XL. These phones are set to compete with the flagship phones from both Samsung and Apple. Now, Google has announced that next month in November, they plan to release another flagship phone (of sorts), the Lenovo PHAB 2 Pro, the smartphone more widely known as the first device to run Tango, Google’s augmented reality technology.
While Project ARA is now defunct, Google is not stepping away from is more eccentric smartphone ambitions. Project Tango – a push to put 3D mapping and augmented reality in a smartphone – is still alive and well, thanks to the upcoming Lenovo PHAB 2 Pro.
The phone has the ability to track one’s surroundings and then, using augmented reality, display the phone’s contents like it is directly in from of you. This sort of technology might allow for many new applications, such as visualizing new furniture in your home, for instance, or shoot aliens that are coming through your windows.
“Tango lets you see more of your world,” reads Google Tango’s website. “Just hold up your phone, and watch as virtual objects and information appear on top of your surroundings. So no matter where you are, there’s always a richer, deeper experience to engage with, explore and enjoy.”
Lenovo showcased the PHAB 2 Pro earlier this year at Tech World, but there hasn’t been much word regarding the device since then. The smartphone was initially slated to debut at the end of the summer, but was pushed back to sometime in the fall. Now, according to a report from Google’s AR head Clay Bavor to CNET, the phone should drop in sometime in November.
At last mention, the smartphone was set to drop at a $499 price mark, unlocked here in the United States, which certainly seems like a reasonable amount, considering that it’s the first smartphone to make used of Tango, Google’s long-awaited computer vision system – a system that could have some interesting implications for mobile augmented reality.
The Lenovo PHAB 2 Pro ships with a massive 6.4-inch QHD LCD display, a Snapdragon 652 processor, 4GB of RAM, a microSD slot, and three cameras on the back for Tango’s motion tracking, area learning, and depth perception technology: a standard 16MP sensor joined by a depth-sensing IR camera and a motion tracking camera.
On the front side, the phone sports an 8MP lens, and the phone also ships with a fingerprint sensor on the back, Dolby Atmos speakers on the bottom, and a hefty 4050mAh battery. Apart from the Tango technology, the phone is a decent device for 2016; it’s nothing special, but it will certainly get the job done.
Unlike the Pixel and Pixel XL, the PHAB 2 Pro is not compatible with the Daydream VR platform as the smartphone doesn’t feature an AMOLED display. Clay Bavor talked about a possibility of a phone that supports both Tango and Daydream, but for the foreseeable future, we’ll just have to choose between the two: “You can imagine in the future you won’t have to make a choice, but that’s a bit further out.”
The PHAB 2 Pro will retail for $499, and will be available at Best Buy locations across the country.