The Lenovo PHAB2 Pro is the very first device to support Tango, Google’s indoor mapping and augmented reality solution meant to allow a whole new layer of interaction between the digital world and the real world. One of its uses is checking out a piece of furniture online, getting the real measurements for it, and seeing how it will look in your home. The ability to fill a room with digital furniture and take accurate measurements are just a couple of reasons that Lowe’s is set to be among the first retailers to have the device, and Google just confirmed that the phone will see the light of day this November, giving it roughly the same final release timeline as the Pixel phones announced yesterday.
The PHAB2 Pro is a 6.4 inch beast of a phone, with the all-important depth-sensing camera on the back enabling Tango functions. The phone is otherwise just a bit below modern flagships, and should be sufficient for almost all users. A large 4,050mAh battery powers a specially optimized Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, which is backed by 4GB of RAM. Users get 64GB of internal storage, along with a MicroSD slot. 3 microphones with 360 degree voice capture and noise cancellation and a decent set of stereo speakers are on board to make the audio end of any AR application just as rich as the video. The gigantic display is set at a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440, and the whole show is run by Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) at launch, with an update to Android 7.0 (Nougat) planned for the future.
While the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro is a wonderful device, the Pixel devices are a good bit more powerful, and run the absolute bleeding-edge, latest version of Android. The two Pixel phones are also compatible with Daydream VR, whereas the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro is not. This means that users will be faced with a choice of which experience they want to carry in their pocket; groundbreaking mobile augmented reality, or mobile virtual reality that exceeds anything yet seen in the mobile space. According to Google’s head of VR, Clay Bavor, however, that choice may not always be necessary; “You can imagine in the future you won’t have to make a choice, but that’s a bit further out,” Bavor said of the dichotomy of killer apps.