Augmented reality has been around for a long time, popularized by the Nintendo 3DS, but it hasn’t really taken off on phones. Sure, Pokemon Go gave us a taste of what is possible with AR but we need specialize tech for really immersive experiences.
Google’s Project Tango was created with the goal of bringing the necessary AR tech to phones and you’ll finally be able to get your hands on it in November, though a precise date wasn’t annouced. The Lenovo Phab2 Pro will be the first phone to market with Google’s Tango 3D camera system that’s capable of scanning your surroundings and accurately placing virtual objects in your environment.
The Phab2 Pro is a burly phone with its 6.4-inch quad-HD screen. The phone can also capture 5.1 surround sound with its 3 mics to help you make immersive video.
The phone may feature a mid-range Snapdragon 652 processor instead of the flagship Snapdragon 821 found in Google’s just-released Pixel phones, but the it’s been optimized for Tango. With a $499 (about £345, AU$672) price tag unlocked, it’s hard to complain too much about its specs.
The biggest problem with the Lenovo Phab2 Pro is that it doesn’t support virtual reality, something Google is pushing hard with its Daydream View VR headset. You’ll have to choose whether you want an augmented reality experience with the Phab2 Pro or a virtual reality experience with the Google Pixel.
“You can imagine in the future you won’t have to make a choice, but that’s a bit further out,” said Google’s head of VR Clay Bavor speaking with CNET. In the future, we may see a phone support both Tango and Daydream but for now, we’ll have to make that tough choice.
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