Augmented reality is the next big thing, and the Pokemon Go madness showed how AR can go viral to become a worldwide phenomena. And AR is expected to go beyond mobile games; Google’s Project Tango is one such idea which will help smartphones figure out space and motions just like humans do with the help of sensors.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first official Project Tango smartphone, and the announcement was first made at CES 2016. Lenovo then showcased the phone at its Tech World conference in San Francisco, and we’ve had a chance to use it at IFA 2016 in Berlin.
As a device Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is pretty big thanks to the 6.4-inch full HD display, but this one is not about the size or the screen, but rather what it offers. The camera, for instance, has an AR mode, and once you switch it on, there are some characters that you can pick from: a cat, a dog, a dragon, etc.
Tap on one of them, and they appear on the camera app, superimposed on the real world settings around you. And there are things you can do with these creatures: For instance, there’s a laser for the cat and it will chase it around.
The AR mode takes some time to appear, but as an experience, it is quite smooth and unique. And yes, it is a whimsical kind of fun. For anyone who has played Pokemon GO, this kind of AR experience might be very familiar. But Project Tango and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro won’t just be about furry virtual creatures for playing.
There are apps in the Project Tango mode which offer a variety of functions. Home Improvement by Lowe’s is one such app, where a user can pick one item they wish to buy, and see whether it fits or looks good in the space of their home. The app relies on the phone’s camera, which is fitted with multiple camera sensors to virtually project furniture in a space. Apps like this offer to transform shopping experience as we know it today.
Then there are options like the Phantogeist app, which creates real-life projections or phantom-like creatures. World is where users can create a miniature virtual world inside their own home. Also, apps which create a whole virtual setting in the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro’s camera app and you can go exploring in this world, without having to wear a VR-style headset.
In terms of specifications, Phab 2 Pro has a 16MP rear camera on board with a special depth-sensing unit, along with multiple camera sensors. The display is 6.4-inch 2K, there’s a Qualcomm 652 processor on board with 4GB RAM+64GB on board storage, 4050 mAh battery and a fingerprint scanner on board.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first device with Project Tango. It is a device that does more than just take your selfies; 3D projections, the ability to figure out space are all new experiences on a smartphone. How Project Tango and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro are received will be closely watched by most.