Update, 11/1/16, 8:40am PT: Lenovo announced that the Phab 2 Pro is now available for $499, unlocked, from its website (opens in new tab).)
It also happens to be a reasonably well-appointed device. It's huge (6.4 inches) but offers a 2560x1440 resolution display, and it runs on (what appears to be) a specially-built Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, with a whopping 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of onboard storage. The 4,050 mAh battery is no joke (although considering the intensive applications it will endure, anything less would be problematic). The rear camera assembly is 16MP and includes a depth sensor and motion tracker.
Although initially we were expecting the device this summer, Lenovo plans to ship the Phab2 line in September. The price tag is just $499, unlocked, and the Phab 2 Pro will be available at Best Buy and--oddly--Lowe's.
|Lenovo Phab 2 Pro|
|Display||6.4-inch Quad HD (2560x1440), 2K IPS Assertive2.5D curved glass|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Processor (Built for Tango)|
|Storage||64 GB (up to 128 GB via microSD)|
|Camera||Rear: 16 MP PDAF Fast-Focus, Depth Sensor and Motion Tracking Sensor for TangoFront: 8 MP Fixed-Focus (F2.2 aperture)|
|Battery||4050 mAh Li-ion + Fast-charge Standby time: over 13 days Talk time: 18 hours|
|Connectivity||802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz Wi-FiBluetooth 4.0|
|Sound||Triple array mic w/ Active Noice CancellationDolby Atmos + Dolby Audio Capture 5.1|
|Sensors||G-Sensor P-Sensor L-Sensor E-Compass Gyroscope Hall Sensor Vibrator|
|Colors||Champagne Gold, Gunmetal Gray|
|Body||Aluminum alloy (unibody)|
|Price||$499, unlocked (at Best Buy)|
What About Intel?
Intel is working on its own Project Tango phone, and although we've seen some intriguing innovations there--not the least of which is hand-tracking--the chipmaker seems to be backing off a bit. We've noticed how little direct attention Project Tango (now know as simply "Tango") has gotten this year from Intel (I had to hunt to find the team at both CES and Mobile World Congress), and the company is no longer selling dev kits. As I've noted before, though, Intel was probably never going to sell Project Tango smartphones anyway--it wants to sell RealSense cameras to OEMs who will make smartphones. Like Lenovo. And so here we are.
Curiously, few if any other companies seem to be developing Project Tango devices, which is too bad, because it holds a great deal of promise, especially on a smartphone. Area learning, multi-user experiences, and a multitude of AR (and even VR) experiences are all readily possible with Project Tango. We've seen several simple but compelling demos, and those were all using technology that had no shipping products.
Make no mistake, Lenovo is making a wager on AR here. If the Phab 2 Pro flops, Lenovo itself will have egg on its face, and the fate of Project Tango hangs in the balance. However, if the Phab 2 Pro is successful, Lenovo will be branded as a brave innovator--and will be a step ahead of its competitors, who will be scrambling to catch up.
Lenovo, though, sounds like it's already all-in. From the stage at Lenovo Tech World, Lenovo's VP and GM of Android and Chrome Computing Jeff Meredith said that Lenovo now has an entire unit devoted to building tablets, smartphones, and even Chromebooks, many of which will employ Project Tango technology.