Lenovo Ships the First Tango-Powered Android Smartphone

Lenovo Ships the First Tango-Powered Android Smartphone

Google has been talking about its Tango augmented reality initiative since last year, but it’s finally happening: The first Tango smartphone is now available.

Actually, Google has been working to bring AR to Android for over three years, according to the firm. And kudos to Google for simply using the codename for the final product: Tango was ushered to production under the codename—wait for it—Project Tango.

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In any event, Google announced back in June that the first Tango-powered Android smartphone, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, would ship in September. They just missed that date, but the wait is finally over.

Like the Windows Holographic technologies that power Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, Tango seeks to provide a mixed reality experience in which the real world is mixed with virtual objects. But by doing so on a smartphone screen, Google can eliminate the complexity, cost, and physical space limitations of HoloLens, not to mention the confusion caused by that device’s limited field of view. To be fair, a smartphone’s screen is no more or less limited, from a field of view perspective, than HoloLens. It’s just that this limitation is expected and familiar with a phone.


I’ve not used Tango, so I’m not sure if it captures the essential magic of HoloLens, where virtual objects are believably rooted in the real world and thus appear to be “real” to the user. But in looking over the technology’s website, it’s pretty clear that Google is aiming it at the same general target as HoloLens, and is offering a mix of productivity, education, and entertainment solutions that are built on Tango. There’s even a Lowe’s app, a nice shot at Microsoft.


As for the Phab 2 Pro itself, it’s a big phone, with a 6.4-inch 1440p screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor (which is apparently optimized for Tango), 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and 16/8 MP cameras. It’s got a huge battery, and is available in both Champagne Gold and Gunmetal Grey. It costs $500.


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Conversation 7 comments

  • 2382

    01 November, 2016 - 9:34 am

    <p>It’s interesting to ponder the next step for this tech. For example, a more immersive experience with this phone strapped into Google Daydream?</p>

  • 214

    Premium Member
    01 November, 2016 - 10:15 am

    <p>I suppose MS could be planning to integrate certain&nbsp;hololens-like capabilities&nbsp;into a "Small Surface Device." That would be interesting. Definite business uses – stay tuned for the $1000 smart phone…</p>

  • 5510

    01 November, 2016 - 11:48 am

    <p>This is why I questioned Paul’s assertion that MSFT is the clear leader when it comes to Augmented Reality. When it comes to professional and specialty fields, Microsoft’s AR is not it. When it comes to the consumer space, Microsoft is not even in the game.</p>
    <p>Google AR Technologies, at $500, will be in the hands of consumers and professionals far more than MSFT’s $3,000 impractible nerd helmet.</p>
    <p>LOL..ya know..rather than investing time, money, and brain power in that nerd helmet, Nadella should’ve had the HoloLens team work on putting that technology on Windows Phone. Thus giving people a REASON to buy Windows Phone, while at the same time give the perception that they are, indeed, the AR leader by simply getting to market first. Instead, they went to the highly expensive and useless nerd helmet first.</p>

  • 5234

    01 November, 2016 - 11:50 am

    <p>A phablet for a fad-let.</p>

  • 427

    01 November, 2016 - 12:34 pm

    <p>I could careless about the Tango aspects but if this thing runs regular android stuff nicely, then its a great price and an awesome size for someone who likes big phones.&nbsp; The giant battery I would hope would allow it to last all day too.&nbsp; Maybe it will get good reviews. I’m also curious what version of Android its running.</p>

  • 5519

    02 November, 2016 - 8:31 am

    <p>As an owner of a Moto/Lenovo Droid Turbo 2, I can safely say that until Moto can make an Android phone as good as the Samsung Galaxy and new Google Pixels that they should stop with the Gimmick phones. &nbsp;And the new Z phones are also gimmicks!</p>

  • 5400

    02 November, 2016 - 11:22 am

    <p>This phone has pretty darn good specs for $500, what’s the catch?</p>

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