Lenovo And Google Partner For First Consumer Project Tango Augmented Reality Smartphone

After making waves at IDF 2015 in August, Project Tango is closer to appearing on consumer phones. In fact, Google and Lenovo announced at CES 2016 that they already have a prototype phone that features the augmented reality kit and plan to launch it this year. Google released renderings of a Lenovo phone with Project Tango, but cautioned that the images are not images of the “official” Lenovo phone.

lenovo prototype project tango

Still, they provide an interesting look at how the necessary hardware (a motion-tracking camera and depth-sensing technology) will affect the appearance of a consumer phone. “By adding a few extra sensor and some computer vision software, Project Tango transforms your smartphone into a magic lens that lets you place digital information on your physical world,” Project Tango Technical Lead Johnny Lee wrote in a blog post.

The number of apps that make use of Project Tango is understandably small, so Google is encouraging app developers to get involved. If you have an idea for a Project Tango-based app (and the coding chops to make a decent prototype), send your proposal to Google by February 15th, 2016, and you could end up getting funding and help from Google’s engineers. On top of that, the best apps to come from this push could ship as pre-installed apps on the new Lenovo phone.

blocks project tango

Google is looking for everything from games to more serious fare and has a couple examples for would-be Project Tango developers. One is an app from home improvement giant Lowe’s. The app lets you scan your kitchen and then uses the depth sensors to determine whether certain appliances will fit. The other is a Jenga-like block game.

lowes project tango

It will be interesting to see which ideas make it onto the final edition of the Lenovo phone when it comes out this year. For now, we’ll have to hobble through life, measuring our appliances by hand.