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.
Lenovo Unveils Tango-Enabled Phab 2 Pro Augmented Reality Smartphone
The Moto Z and Moto Z Force Smartphones
Lenovo’s other newly announced smartphones, the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force, feature a series of interchangeable, modular Moto Mod backs that can be snapped onto the phones to add varying features as need by users, including a larger battery, a big-screen projector or a boom box speaker system for over-the-top audio.
Both the Moto Z and Moto Z Force handsets are flagship smartphones that include all-metal bodies, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors and Moto TurboPower fast charging capabilities. The Moto Z Force also includes the Moto Shattershield display, which is guaranteed not to crack or shatter.
The JBL SoundBoost audio back, the Moto Insta-Share Projector back and the Power Pack back, which adds up to 22 hours of battery life to the device, connect to the Moto Z phones using high-powered magnets. Other modular backs will be released in the future to extend the capabilities of the phones.
The Moto Z, which is just 0.20 inches thick, includes a 5.5-inch quad HD AMOLED display, 4GB of memory, 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, and a microSD card slot for additional storage. It also features a 13MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, a front-facing 5MP camera with a wide-angle lens and a water-repellant coating to protect the handset.
The Moto Z Force will include the same key specifications but will also come with the Moto Shattershield display, a 21MP rear-facing camera and longer battery life.
The Moto Z DROID Edition and Moto Z Force DROID Edition handsets will be available in the U.S. this summer through Verizon, through retailers including Best Buy, and through Moto.com. Prices have not yet been announced. The Moto Z will also be available unlocked on Moto.com and at various retailers this fall.