At its Tech World conference last June, Lenovo unveiled a new generation of PHAB2 smartphones, including a 6.4-inch PHAB2 Pro.While you might laugh at its near-tablet girth, it has one thing that no commercial smartphone of any size can boast off: sensors that makes Google’s Tango project possible. Delayed from its initial September launch, the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro is reportedly really ready to dance, and could start shipping next month, just in time to make the perfect gift for techies and geeks who want to dive into the world of augmented reality.
Interestingly enough, the PHAB2 Pro represents the flip side of the Google Pixel when it comes to the new thrusts in computing. Whereas the Pixel is compatible with Google’s Daydream VR platform, the PHAB2 Pro leans more towards Google’s Tango augmented reality platform. The latter has been around far longer, though limited only to research devices not made available to the general public. In other words, the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro is the first consumer Tango device to land in the market.
To make Tango possible, the giant phablet has more than your regular camera on its back. In addition to a 16 megapixel PDAF sensor, the PHAB2 Pro also hosts motion tracking sensors as well as a depth sensor. These three together are able to relay a three-dimensional model of the real world, versus a simple flattened 2D representation, something that is needed for AR to work.
In terms of specs, the PHAB2 Pro practically high-end save for one details. It has a 2560×1440 LCD screen and 4 GB of RAM, but those are driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652, not an 800 series. That said, Lenovo assures that this particular processor was designed specifically for Tango, so performance should not be much of an issue.
Despite its lofty purpose, the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro is a hundred dollars shy of having a premium price tag. No new pricing details have been shared, so we presume Lenovo has stuck to $500. The Google Tango smartphone will be available sometime in November, from both Lowe and Best Buy, among other retailers.