Lenovo is announcing a new line of smartphones that will be released later in the year: the Phab 2 and Phab 2 Plus, updates of 2015’s Lenovo Phab. Featuring large 6.4-inch displays, metal construction and affordable prices, the most awaited version is the Phab 2 Pro – the first device with Google’s Tango augmented reality technology.
The Phab 2 Pro has similar specs to the other Phab 2 models in its large display and physical design. The Phab 2 Pro’s screen is quad HD, the phone powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 processor. With a 16-megapizel camera, 4GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, 4,000mAh battery, the Pro has all of the features expected from a modern Android smartphone.
But what sets this model apart from the rest is the Tango technology, a depth-sensing 3D camera system which brings a wide-angle camera and the ability to place virtual objects around a user.
Google has been developing the project for years as a way of measuring distances in 3D and creating augmented realities. This new Tango technology is a smaller and better version of the Tango camera options that have been available in a tablet device, functioning in the same basic way.
With the Tango, the Phab 2 Pro can track objects, map out an actual space and project virtual effects in a physical space. Lenovo has seized these features and are demonstrating its capabilities with multiple apps, such as virtual-reality shooting games, an educational app that navigates the Museum of Natural History and a domino app that lets users piece together virtual contraptions. It can be even used for furniture shopping, simply projecting how the items would look in a given location. Previous demos of Tango have shown its abilities to navigate indoor spaces and provide contextual information based on objects it can see.
The first few reviews of the smartphone and its Tango features described them to have worked as advertised, but are very basic and have a lot of bugs. Lenovo has said there will be 25 apps of all kinds on a special app store on the Pro when it comes out, and expects over a hundred more apps to be on the store by the time Christmas comes around.
The Phab 2 Pro is a big milestone for both Lenovo and Tango, as this will be the first consumer device using Tango. Its large size might be a deterrent for buyers however, who might want to wait and see how well Tango works out and if it will be utilized in smaller smartphones soon.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro will be available directly from Lenovo and select retailers in September, at a retail price of $499. The Phab 2 will cost $199 and the Phab 2 Plus will cost $299.