Lenovo Unveils Tango-Enabled Phab 2 Pro Augmented Reality Smartphone

Also debuting are two other Phab 2 models without Tango features, as well as two new Moto Z smartphones that feature modular attachments.

Lenovo, Moto, Moto Z, Moto Z Force, smartphones, Project Tango, Google, Phab 2 Pro, Phab 2 Plus, Phab 2

Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro smartphone, the first handset to feature Google Tango augmented reality capabilities for consumer use, was unveiled at Lenovo Tech World on June 9 in San Francisco, along with two other Phab phone models and two new Moto Z smartphones that feature modular accessories that can be added and removed as needed.

The Phab 2 Pro (pictured) includes a 6.4-inch quad HD In-Plane Switching (IPS) curved touch-screen display (2,560 by 1440), a Snapdragon 652 Tango edition processor, 4GB of memory, 64GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot for storage cards up to 128GB and a 4,050mAh Li-Ion battery with fast charging capabilities.

The 4G LTE-capable handset also includes a 16-megapixel auto-focus camera, an 8-megapixel fixed-focus front-facing camera, Dolby Atmos audio and an aluminum alloy unibody. It runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity are also included. The Phab 2 Pro will be available in Champagne Gold and Gunmetal Grey colors starting at $499 beginning in September around the world.

The Phab 2 Pro is being launched in partnership with Google, which introduced Project Tango in February 2014 as an initiative to compress current understanding about robotics and computer vision into a mobile phone, according to a past eWEEK article. The idea of the project is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion that will allow the devices to provide more data to users than is seen on a touch screen. Project Tango is designed to capture and track large amounts of data using 3D measurements to help make it possible using extra intelligence.

The Project Tango-enabled smartphone will give users new ways to experience the world—enabling them to map their way inside a museum or to create a 3D gaming environment to, for example, visualize how a new refrigerator might fit into their kitchen.

The Phab 2 Pro handset includes a myriad of special sensor and special software from Google that allows the device to sense and map its surroundings, according to Lenovo.

"Put simply, we wanted to take what was an amazing concept and transform it into a commercially viable mobile device," Jeff Meredith, vice president and general manager of Lenovo's Android and Chrome computing division, said in a statement. "From the moment we saw Tango, we knew it could become pervasive, just like GPS. However, to truly make the PHAB2 Pro a game-changer, we developed it at an affordable price for mainstream consumers, delivering not just a bleeding-edge phone, but an all-around fantastic phone that's first to market."

Johnny Lee, the engineering director at Google, said in a statement that "Tango enables our devices to sense physical motion and space and, as a result, has the power to change how we interact with our surroundings."

One of the uses for the new technology is that homeowners will be able to remodel their homes using the handset to visualize how new appliances or other home furnishings will fit in their rooms. A Tango-enabled app created by home improvement company Lowe's will let users make such decisions using their Phab 2 Pro phones. Lenovo said it will also sell the handsets in Lowe's stores by the end of the year.

The Phab 2 Plus

Also announced was the Lenovo Phab 2 Plus smartphone, which offers augmented reality special effects using its twin 13-megapixel rear cameras that include fast f2.0 lenses, low-light capabilities and a professional-grade Fujitsu Milbeaut image signal processor used in Leica cameras.

The Phab 2 Plus has AR photo features that will allow users to superimpose effects such as virtual backgrounds or cartoons onto their images, which can then be shared on social media platforms or printed.

The Phab 2 Plus smartphone, which will start at $299 when it goes on sale in September, includes a 6.4-inch full HD IPS curved touch-screen display, 3GB of memory, 32GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot for storage cards up to 128GB, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, a 4,050mAh Li-Ion battery, high-quality Dolby sound and an aluminum alloy chassis. The phone, which runs on Android Marshmallow, comes in Champagne Gold and Gunmetal Grey colors.

The Standard Phab 2

Also in the Phab 2 smartphone family is the new standard Phab 2 handset, which has a 6.4-inch IPS HD touch-screen display, a MediaTek (MTK 8735) quad-core processor, 3GB of memory, 32GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot for storage cards up to 128GB, a 13-megapixel auto-focus rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera and high-quality surround sound capabilities. The Phab 2 also includes a 4,050mAh Li-Ion battery, AR special effects and Dolby Atmos audio, and runs on Android Marshmallow. Prices start at $199 for the handset, which will be available in Champagne Gold and Gunmetal Grey when it goes on sale globally in September.