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With First Tango Phone, Google Launches 35 Augmented Reality Apps

Along with the announcement that the first consumer phone with Tango on board (Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro) is now shipping, Google announced 35 Tango-supported apps to coincide with the phone's launch. Google also said that it expects more AR-ready phones to make their debut some time in 2017.

Tango's capabilities have been teased since the project was revealed in 2014. Tango allows for motion tracking, room-scale localization, AR overlays, and more. But most of these revelations have come in the form of technical demos--the Phab 2 Pro's launch marks the first time many consumers will be able to use Tango themselves.

The launch apps range from Measure, a tool that allows you to use your phone to measure anything in your homes, to an AR game called Domino World that lets you play dominoes without having to worry about picking all the pieces up afterwards. The debut lineup also includes  Lowe's interior decorating tool, an at-scale simulator of the solar system, and a paint-shooting game called Crayola Color Blaster, among others.

Google explained in its blog post that these apps are just the beginning of its ambitions for Tango:

We see the potential for Tango technologies to be in every smartphone in the future. In the same way you wouldn’t consider buying a phone today without a camera or GPS, Tango will be a ubiquitous capability to help your phone better understand space and the world around you. There will be more Tango-enabled phones coming in the new year and we can’t wait for you to explore, learn and play.

Tango is just part of Google's efforts to capture the AR market. The company invested $500 million into a startup called Magic Leap, which is working on AR so compelling it decided to call it "cinematic reality" instead, and it also worked with the Smithsonian to create AR experiences for a display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

  • hdmark
    are these apps using a HMD of some sort? or more of a pokemon go style aim your phone at the table?

    this would be pretty cool though. i could see board games selling with apps to go with them. could play monolopy and aim your phone at the table to see cool animations.

    although just being able to aim my phone at something and get a decently accurate measurement would be amazing.... between that and maybe a level app?? id be set
    Reply
  • bit_user
    18810484 said:
    are these apps using a HMD of some sort? or more of a pokemon go style aim your phone at the table?
    It's a phone with one or more depth sensors and uses visible + depth + some combination of accelerometer, gyro, and compass to determine its position and orientation (termed its "pose"). The depth sensor(s) allow it to see the geometry of the environment.

    This means it can render CG objects that appear to be in the same space as real objects, and be used for crude 3D scanning. Furthermore, it can learn its environment, as you walk around. Based on this knowledge, it can determine its location without any GPS (and much more precisely than if you used GPS). This would allow you to put a virtual object in a real spot, and then come back to find it there, sometime later.

    These are the same sorts of things that Hololens does. The biggest difference is that one projects the CG imagery through a visor, while the other is a phablet. The article had an inline link to it, but here's the announcement (with pics):

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/lenovo-phab2-pro-tango-smartphone,32023.html

    18810484 said:
    although just being able to aim my phone at something and get a decently accurate measurement would be amazing.... between that and maybe a level app?? id be set
    It's only good for rough measurements, just to get a basic idea of how big something is. If you care about accuracy down to an inch or cm, then you'll still need a tape measure.
    Reply