Marketers, get ready to present your products and experiences inside real-world spaces.
Today in San Francisco, Lenovo introduced via live video stream its phab2PRO phone, the world’s first Tango-enabled phone. Tango — formerly Project Tango — is Google’s R&D effort to instill smartphones with the ability to immediately sense space, and then lay interactive visuals on top of it.
The new phone’s abilities to understand the space around you could lead to the wide availability of the much-heralded augmented reality. Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang pitched the idea that Tango capabilities could become as commonplace as GPS.
By measuring depth and motion, Tango allows not only unprecedented games and educational experiences to take place in your living room, but also product demonstrations and experiences. Your home or office becomes the showroom.
Lowe’s hardware store, for instance, demo’d an app it has created for the phone that allows the user to look through the screen and visualize a room’s renovation and furnishing. A new hardwood floor, example, was selected and finger-stretched so it visually laid on top of the actual stage floor at the presentation, and a leather chair and side table were chosen and placed on the hardwood floor. (See the image from the live stream, at the top of this page.)
The phone can also visually measure volumes of space as a kind of tape measure, such as you might want to do to make sure a potential table purchase will fit into a dining room.
The new phone, whose development had been announced months ago, features four cameras — an eight megapixel one in front, a 16 megapixel in the rear, and two rear-facing depth and motion tracking cameras. In addition to the ability to instantly track motion and depth, the camera can remember spaces it has previously measured.
Lest potential buyers worry that all that computing power will burn through battery life, Lenovo claimed a single charge should last 15 hours. Retail price will be $499 unlocked, and the device will be available globally in September.
Lenovo also showed an educational app from the American Museum of Natural History, where moving and lifesized dinosaurs can be selected to walk around the floor in front of you, as seen through the screen.
A game of virtual dominos allows a user to construct tumbling squares that know when they should fall off an actual table:
Of course, it remains to be seen if Tango capabilities are used only for special cases, like when you’re remodeling or want to play a game that takes place in the space in front of you.
On the other hand, many people originally thought personal computers would be used only for spreadsheets and recipes.