Lenovo has announced at the ongoing CES that it would be the first company to bring the first Project Tango phone to consumers. The Project Tango was started a couple of years ago and was foreseen by the Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group which would for the first time implement a previously unseen level of vision processing on a phone.
Although the details are still not in abundance, Lenovo made it clear that the phone would be priced ‘within $500’ and the device will be released ‘this summer’. The company also added that they still don’t have a final design at place yet and instead they had shown one of the five designs Lenovo has been working on. Google has also announced an app incubator program to encourage the developers.
It is yet to be known if Lenovo will be an exclusive partner or if Google is going to handover the technology to other OEM’s. That being said, Project Tango is still at infancy and is very unlikely of Google to roll out Tango in a large scale.
Now the most obvious question is how the Project Tango will impact you as an end user. Computer grade vision processing units have been straying away from the mobile platforms from quiet a long time and the main reason for this was the lack of the battery power. The vision processing chips like the PrimeSense used by the Microsoft in Kinect device draws more than 1 watt which is way more than an average smartphone battery range which usually hovers between 2000mAh to 2500mAh.
Myriad 1 is the low powered vision processing unit from Google that is making the Project Tango a reality. So in simple sense, the Myriad 1 is designed to operate in the range of a couple of hundred milliwatt making it easier to incorporate this chip in an actual phone.
The Myriad 1 chip on a phone opens up a multitude of possibilities including motion detection and tracking, depth mapping, recording and interpreting spatial and motion data. This would allow developers to integrate the APIs with apps that capture images, augmented reality games, intuitive navigation system and what now. Imagine how it would be if you can actual map out the streets on your neighborhood and use that as a track in the racing game on your phone.
The vision system will also be capable of not just indoor mapping but also reading the shape of a room and treating the items in the room as discrete objects. This can give a great boost to the wearable devices and can also be included in a Google Glass kind of a device. It would not be a farcry to call the Project Tango a Google Glass for the smartphone.