Project Tango is moving from experiment to a feature that Lenovo hopes will sell phones. Tonight at CES, Lenovo and Google have announced that the former will be the first manufacturer to release a consumer handset with Project Tango built in. And there's already a release date: it's coming this summer. The device will cost under $500 and will launch globally, according to both companies. Also interesting is that Lenovo and Google have said it'll be "less than 6.5 inches" in size. Tango, unveiled nearly two years ago, allows devices to map the 3D space around them in real time using a combination of cameras and sensors. If you need a refresher, here's what Google says its technology can make possible:
App developers can transform your home into a game level, or create a magic window into virtual and augmented environments. Project Tango-enabled devices can recognize places they’ve been before, like your living room, the office, or public spaces. Unlike GPS, Project Tango motion tracking works indoors, allowing users to navigate precisely through a shopping mall, or even find a specific item at the store where that information is available. Using the sensor in the device, Project Tango devices can also capture the 3D dimensions of the room, giving measurements that can be used to help you when shopping for furniture or decorations.
So that's what you can do with it, and here's what it's like to use it. Developers are invited to submit their best app ideas as part of the Project Tango App Incubator. The best will receive funding and be featured on Lenovo's phone out of the box. We're hoping to get some firsthand impressions of the first-ever consumer Project Tango smartphone before long.