Qualcomm is in the process of optimizing its Snapdragon System-on-Chip (SoC) line to support Google's Project Tango augmented reality technology, the company announced this week. Support for Tango has already been extended to its popular Snapdragon 820 and Snapdragon 652 processors, while future Snapdragon 800 and 600 tier products will also dance with Tango.
What this means is one less chip in phones designed for augmented reality chores based on Google's Project Tango technology. Rather than implement certain functions on an extra piece of hardware, the necessary sensors and algorithms are embedded in the aforementioned Snapdragon processors, which are more than capable of handling augmented reality chores.
"The fact is, all Snapdragon 600 and 800 series processors share the same architectural advantages needed to deliver Tango experiences in highly mobile form factors," Qualcomm said. "Tightly integrated into a single chip, the components of Snapdragon processors are uniquely equipped to simultaneously process data from all five Tango-related sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, and three camera sensors, including two new Tango-specific camera sensors: a fisheye motion tracking camera and a depth sensor camera)."
Snapdragon 800 and 600 tier processors also boast an integrated global high-frequency clock that performs highly accurate, uniform time stamping of all that sensor data. That's a key part of delivering a smooth AR experience, allowing for 3D graphic overlays to tracks virtually seamlessly with physical surroundings.
The other benefit to not having add more components for Tango is that it could accelerate adoption of Tango-enabled handsets to consumers. Whether or not there's a receptive market for such devices remains to be seen. One such device is headed to consumers in September, that being Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro, a massive 6.4-inch handset that qualifies as the world's first Tango AR smartphone.