Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Google's Project Tango began in 2012 under Motorola's Advanced Technologies and Projects. It's an Android-based platform that equips the likes of smartphones and tablets with so-called "computer vision" — a combination of sensors and software that mean such devices could, in essence, "see" their surroundings.
At CES last week, Google and Lenovo together announced that a phone armed with Project Tango capabilities will be coming to market in mid-2016. The device is expected to cost under $500 and run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Google, Lenovo and Qualcomm said they have been working closely to optimize software and hardware for the platform.
The handset could enable a new generation of apps that use spatial and object recognition with great accuracy. A Project Tango-based smartphone could, for example, act as a digital measuring tape, offer advanced indoor mapping or provide augmented reality features. Intel is supporting Project Tango facilitated by the company's RealSense 3D, which detects objects and gestures. It's now offering a Project Tango-based RealSense developer kit to spark interest in creating a new generation of apps.
It's become difficult for mobile device makers to stand out as the smartphone industry reaches maturity. Project Tango's uses are still somewhat elusive, but the initiative shows potential in adding a new and interesting dimension to device development.