Lenovo released the first Project Tango device earlier this year in the shape of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. The company's General Manager of Android and Chrome, Jeff Merideth, is expecting other manufacturers to release devices that contain Tango technology during 2017. Merideth believes that Lenovo is well positioned to retain their current market leadership for commercial Tango hardware: competitors will be releasing their first generation Tango devices as Lenovo is releasing their second generation devices. The company's chipset optimisation process, in particular, should benefit Lenovo's subsequent Tango-compatible hardware: at this juncture, we have no further information as to when Lenovo may release details of a follow-up Project Tango-equipped smartphone, other than the company would appear to be working on at least one such device.
Google's Project Tango technology was originally born in Motorola's former Advanced Technology And Projects group, ATAP, with an intention of raising the contextual awareness of our devices by giving them essentially a 3D view of their environment. The hardware includes a number of additional sensors and cameras and we have seen a number of limited production or prototype devices already released that come with Google Project Tango hardware, including an early generation smartphone and in particular a 7.0-inch tablet, based around the NVIDIA Tegra K1-32 chipset. The Project Tango tablet was originally offered to developers at the very high price of $1,024 although this was reduced some time after launch. The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro has already been bought by 6,000 developers and we have already seen a small number of Project Tango-enabled applications available in the Google Play Store, but the industry is expecting this number to quickly grow during 2017.
With the first commercial Project Tango hardware available in the market, Lenovo have stolen a march over the competition and by doing so, gained valuable experience and insight into the technology. Lenovo's current generation Tango-enabled Phab 2 Pro device is based around a mid-range Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 652, which has been optimised by Lenovo for Tango duties. Furthermore, whilst the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is arguably something of a production prototype for the new Tango technology, Lenovo's experience gained by building, updating and selling this smartphone should stand the company well going forwards. Lenovo, and the wider industry, is expecting more and more Tango-compatible applications to be released into the Google Play Store over the coming months and this will increase demand for handsets that contain the necessary imaging software and hardware.