The fuzzy midway-point between our virtual and physical worlds is augmented reality. While there have been projects to show a virtual element on a phone when pointed at a special anchor point in real life, like a QR code or other pattern, no attempt has rivaled Google’s Project Tango, which actually analyzes and builds an internal model of a space.
This can be used as a tool for building true augmented reality, with applications like measuring objects and seeing if a chair will fit through a doorway. (Right now it’s a contractor’s dream.)
Today, Chinese hardware maker Lenovo announced the first Tango-enabled phone, called the Phab 2 Pro. The phone not only packs a 16-megapixel camera, but also dedicated depth and motion-tracking cameras to enable Tango.
In demonstrations, Lenovo showed augmented reality dinosaurs placed right on stage, visible through the phone, and quick, accurate measurements of surfaces. They also decorated a room with virtual drapings, potentially making redecoration easier than ever.
Lenovo and Google have been publically working on Tango together for some time—the most recent major tease was at 2016’s Consumer Electronics Show, where the group demonstrated AR video games and the same room measurement. Lenovo also purchased Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion in 2014.
The Phab 2 Pro has a 6.4-inch display, Snapdragon 652 processor, and will cost $499. You’ll be able to buy in September online and in Lowes.