This week at CES, Lenovo announced that it will be releasing the first consumer phone to utilize Google's Project Tango technology this summer. Google and Lenovo teased the "special" announcement earlier this week which had people speculating whether it would actually be a consumer Project Tango phone or a new prototype available to try out at CES. Thankfully we'll only have to wait until this summer to see how well Project Tango functions in the real world.
Project Tango is a 3D mapping project that will use a phone's cameras to bring "motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning to mobile devices." In practice Project Tango technology will allow for apps that can accurately measure a room simply by taking a picture of it, or allowing for navigation of inside a mall or store, and augmented reality. Two years ago when Google announced the project they said:
"App developers can transform your home into a game level, or create a magic window into virtual and augmented environments. Project Tango-enabled devices can recognize places they’ve been before, like your living room, the office, or public spaces. Unlike GPS, Project Tango motion tracking works indoors, allowing users to navigate precisely through a shopping mall, or even find a specific item at the store where that information is available. Using the sensor in the device, Project Tango devices can also capture the 3D dimensions of the room, giving measurements that can be used to help you when shopping for furniture or decorations.”
Lenovo still hasn't talked about all of the details yet, but they have said that the phone will cost under $500 and will come with a six inch display. Lenovo has also stated that Qualcomm will be handling the chip set that will make the Project Tango technology work, and the phone will be running a version of Android. There is no word on whether it will be stock Android or if Lenovo will be using its custom version.
Google and Lenovo are also starting an App Incubator for Project Tango and will be accepting app proposals until February 15. Winners will have their apps featured on Lenovo's Project Tango phone and will receive engineering and funding support from Google and Lenovo. It's worth noting that they aren't just calling for utility apps, but are also inviting developers to create video games.