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Google Tango for AR launches, is this a turning point or another stepping stone?

(TECH NEWS) Google’s Tango launch leaves us wondering how the landscape of augmented reality will change to accommodate its robust hardware requirements.

google tango

Google Tango – what do you think?

Google’s long-awaited Tango (formerly “Project Tango”) released a couple of days ago, along with its accompanying Lenovo Phab 2 Pro smartphone. While it’s not well-developed enough to warrant blowing the $500 or so to acquire the hardware needed to run it, Tango is nevertheless an impressive beginning to what is sure to be a long journey towards commonplace implementation of augmented reality.


Making augmented reality a reality

Google Tango isn’t so much an augmented reality program as it is a suite of both hardware and software that facilitates augmented reality functionality. The suite ships with several apps that allow you to measure objects, view projections of furniture, and — perhaps most importantly — shoot aliens in your own living room.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The “wow” factor of Google Tango for AR is undeniable, but there are other factors to consider..” quote=”The “wow” factor here is undeniable, but there are other factors to consider.”]

Tango’s biggest obstacle to overcome now is the sheer lack of compatible hardware to support it.

Extreme limitations

As it sits, Tango only works on the Phab 2 smartphone; the software requirements needed to run Tango aren’t so much the issue — this generation’s smartphones have more than demonstrated their capability for high-level processing — but the specialized camera needed to convey the necessary depth of field in order for Tango to work optimally is hardly mainstream.

Similarly, the specialized Phab 2 doesn’t carry enough incentives to warrant buying it for the Tango suite alone. Were Tango to manifest on a competent mobile platform that offered both traditional functionality and access to the AR suite, however, its usefulness could be fully realized.

A turning point for AR

The question, then, is this: will Tango create a demand for 3D-capable cameras on future smartphones and tablets, thus facilitating one more step in the campaign to normalize augmented reality? One can only hope that—with the recent rise in AR popularity (largely in part due to Pokémon Go’s proliferation of virtually everything) — the answer is “yes”.

As always, only time will tell.

* Join us on Facebook to discuss the implications of Google Tango. *


Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.


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