You may have already heard about Tango, a new set of sensors and computer software by Google that enables smartphone augmented reality (AR) technology, and Lenovo’s PHAB2 Pro, the first Tango-enabled phone, powered by the Snapdragon 652 processor. Qualcomm Technologies recently announced that the Snapdragon 820 processor and select future Snapdragon 600 series and 800 series processors, like the new Snapdragon 821, will also support Tango. The buzz around Tango continues to grow, especially with the recent popularity of AR-based games like Pokémon GO.
Last week, Johnny Lee of Google and Seshu Madhavapeddy of Qualcomm Technologies took the discussion of Tango a step further with an international group of analysts and media at the start of the SIGGRAPH conference. They answered questions on Tango, Snapdragon support for it, and what a Tango-enabled future might look like. Here are a few of the topics they covered:
Possible applications for Tango in the future
Lee explained that the applications for Tango are expected to expand over time, wherever it’s helpful to have a more accurate understanding of where and how a device moves, including robotics, VR headsets, location-based wearables, augmented reality wearables, and smarter action cameras.
Why Snapdragon 652 processors are well-suited to support Tango
The Snapdragon 652 processor is designed to efficiently handle Tango processing tasks, while leaving the CPU and GPU free to support Tango apps themselves. According to Lee, the Snapdragon 652 "runs much cooler and lasts much longer" than Tango’s development platform.
The importance of time stamping
Time stamping at or above the kernel level (in software) doesn't work well for Tango. Performing time stamping at the hardware level within 50 microsecond accuracy, as done within Snapdragon processors, is required. This is critical for sensor fusion software to correctly interpret input from all 5 of the sensors required for Tango.
The Lenovo PHAB2 Pro is expected to be available in stores by late Q3 2016.