Qualcomm Outs ASUS’ ZenFone AR Snapdragon 821 Google Tango Phone

Qualcomm is apparently feeling giddy that ASUS is using the company's Snapdragon 821 System-on-Chip to power its not-yet-announced ZenFone AR. Well, not officially announced, anyway. An eager beaver at Qualcomm jumped the gun and posted a full press release that confirms earlier leaks of the ZenFone AR being the first handset to be support both Google Tango and Daydream.

"At CES 2017, ASUS announced the ZenFone AR, the world’s first Tango-enabled smartphone to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. It will also be the world’s first mobile device to be both Tango-enabled and Daydream-ready. Tango is a set of sensors and computer vision software that supports smartphone augmented reality experiences. Daydream is Google’s platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality," Qualcomm stated in its press release.


The press release is short on specifications but does contain some supplementary information. For example, it points out that ZenFone AR is the second commercially available Tango-enabled smartphone (Lenovo's PHAB2 Pro launched in June and running a Snapdragon 652 SoC is the other), adding that only Snapdragon processors power commercial Tango-enabled devices.

Qualcomm said it engineered its Snapdragon processors to support computationally intensive Tango use cases that involve motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning using cutting-edge computer vision, graphics, and sensor processing. Furthermore, Tango processing is done entirely on a single efficient SoC, which means better battery life for ZenFone AR users, Qualcomm says.

The premature press release might be disappointing to those who were hoping the ZenFone AR would be the first to wield Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 SoC, though in terms of real-world performance, the Snapdragon 821 has plenty of pep to its step.

"The Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU in Snapdragon 821 brings a 40 percent improvement in graphics performance at 40 percnet less power than the Snapdragon 810. So you can get more hours of augmented reality along with great graphics on the ZenFone AR," Qualcomm points out.

Meanwhile famed leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks on Twitter) tweeted out a press render showing the front and back of the ZenFone AR. That does not reveal a whole lot either, though it does show a premium design.