First Google Tango Phone, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, Now Available in the USA for $499
A few months ago, Lenovo introduced its first smartphone with Google’s Tango, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. This device was to be the first smartphone developed to showcase the technological innovations that grew out of Google’s ambitious augmented reality (AR) project, formerly known as Project Tango. The Phab 2 Pro was scheduled to go on sale in mid September 2016, but after a little delay, it’s finally here!
Even without all of its Tango tricks, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro sports some fairly decent specifications for its price. The front is dominated by a large 6.4″ QHD IPS display — a size necessary because the phone needs to incorporate a lot of additional sensors, though we might see smaller devices once more companies decide to invest in Tango. The Phab 2 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, which might disappoint those of you expecting the latest and greatest Snapdragon 821, but the 652 is respectable in its own right. Couple that with 4GBs of RAM, 64GBs of internal storage and expandability up to 256GB via a microSD card slot through the hybrid dual-SIM tray, and you’ve got a pretty beefy device. Furthermore, the battery capacity of 4,050 mAh is certainly welcome keeping in mind the strain the display, Tango-related sensors, and the cameras will place on the device.
The main camera on the rear is a 16MP shooter with PDAF. Additional sensors on the back help it with motion tracking, depth sensing and 3D mapping. The front is a 8MP shooter with f/2.2 aperture.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first device to support Google Tango, but more devices are expected in 2017 that will help build up the AR ecosystem. It is the first commercially available Tango device for the average consumer though, and with it being sold at an affordable price, the Phab 2 Pro seems primed for success. Assuming, of course, that the device is decently marketed to consumers.
So what about Tango makes this device so special? First of all, Phab 2 Pro utilizes its dual rear camera sensors along with a bunch of other sensors to create a 3D map of our physical surroundings. This 3D mapping is then displayed on the screen, supplemented by other elements and points of interaction that is filled in via software – thus creating an Augmented Reality experience on a smartphone. The uses of AR on a smartphone are limited as of now, albeit the possibilities are mostly left up to the imagination of developers. Currently, only a limited number of apps and games make use of the AR capabilities of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Though with the crazy success of Pokémon GO, we can expect to see a lot more interest in AR now that the technology will be more widely available.
Google currently operates both Google Tango, its platform for Augmented Reality, and Google Daydream, its platform for Virtual Reality, under separate organizational heads. There is a chance that we might see a merge down the line, with phones coming in that might support both Tango and Daydream out of the box.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is available in the USA from today from Lenovo’s official webstore or in select Lowe’s retail stores. The phone will cost you $499.99, and shipping is expected to be within 4-5 weeks. At launch right now, only the Gunmetal Grey color is available, with the Champagne Gold color variant “coming soon”.
Would you be purchasing the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro? Would you like to see other smartphones with Google Tango? Let us know in the comments below!Check out XDA’s Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Forums!