Google’s Project Tango Teardown Reveals Snapdragon 800 SoC, PrimeSense Tech

Much is made of Google’s Project Ara smartphone (and for good reason), but that ballyhoo has caused Google’s other special smartphone under development, Project Tango, to fly under the radar. Even so, iFixit tore down the intriguing real-time 3D mapping Google ATAP project to see what’s inside.

Google Project Tango

“Project Tango is basically a camera and sensor array that happens to run on an Android phone,” wrote the iFixit team at the outset of their findings. They found that the phone runs on a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a 5-inch display.

Other choice hardware features include a 9-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass as well as the gear that helps make the 3D mapping possible: a depth-sensing array, infrared projector, and rear-facing 4MP RGB/IR front and 180-degree fisheye cameras. (So, non-standard smartphone hardware.)

There’s also a micro HDMI port, micro USB, and USB 3.0, as well as a 3000mAh battery.

The iFixit folks figured out how to turn the unit on, even though Google apparently didn’t want them to, and the result is fascinating. Project Tango spit out a bright grid of dots that “shows that Tango works similarly to the original Microsoft Kinect, with a grid of dots to be captured by the IR sensors of the 4 MP camera, building a depth map.”

Google Project Tango

Another juicy tidbit is the PrimeSense (now an Apple joint) Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip’ who knew we’d see a PrimeSense chip in a non-Apple device first? A final interesting note is that several components are actually modular and can be replaced without scrapping the phone. These include all three cameras, the speakers, IR projector, and display assembly.