Lenovo unveils Phab 2 Pro, a Tango device, for just $499 unlocked

With the world's first smartphone compatible with Google's sensory awareness platform, Lenovo aims to court more businesses to use augmented reality.

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Lenovo is hoping to court more businesses to use augmented reality with a smartphone called the Phab 2 Pro, a device that falls under Google's Project Tango, now just Tango, banner.

The much-anticipated device is the world's first smartphone compatible with Google's sensory awareness platform. Calling the device "flagship worthy," Lenovo Vice President Jeff Meredith noted that it will be globally available beginning in September for just $499 unlocked.

The phone features a 6.4-inch IPS display, "great for video viewing," Meredith said. It also features Dolby's 5.1 audio capture, enabling users to record true-to-life audio.

"We know the market for AR and VR devices is set to explode," Meredith said at Lenovo Tech World in San Fancisco. Yet for any technology to move toward broadscale adoption, it must have some real-world relevancy.

"We truly believe Tango can achieve this level of relevancy," Meredith said. With Google, he said, Lenovo has created a device "that could become so pervasive that you would take it for granted."

Indeed, Lenovo's pricing may put Tango in more hands. Lenovo touted the Phab 2 Pro as a champion device. At the least, Lenovo has produced a good value and pricing that rhymes with what is delivered with its Moto brand.

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Announced in February 2014 by Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, Project Tango uses a depth-sensing camera array to track the 3D motion of the device, map out the surrounding environment and create on-phone augmented reality.

At Lenovo Tech World, Google's Johnny Lee announced that the technology will now be referred to as just "Tango."

CNET: Motorola's new Moto Z ditches the headphone jack | Shatterproof Moto Z Force has a bigger battery, better camera | Lenovo Phab2 Pro: World's first Google Tango phone | Lenovo Phab2 Plus: A jumbo-screen phone with dual rear cameras | Motorola Moto Z and Moto Z Force vs. Samsung Galaxy S7, Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S

Research firms like Forrester are upbeat about the future of VR and AR. While VR will open up new opportunities for businesses to engage with customers and train employees, Forrester forecasts that AR will gain traction within the U.S. workforce. As many as 14 million workers, or 8 percent of U.S. employees, will use smart glasses by 2025, the research firm has predicted.

Lenovo and their partners highlighted one immediate and obvious business application for the Phab 2 Pro: home furnishing. Using Tango's indoor navigation capabilities, you could try "putting a piece of furniture, a virtual object, into your living room to see how it fits," Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing explained.

With the help of Nicole Curtis, the host of HGTV's Rehab Addict, Lenovo demonstrated how to use an app from Lowe's on the Phab 2 Pro. She demonstrated adding furniture and accessories to a room, as well as zooming in to look at a product up close.