Asus will launch Google Tango smartphone early next year

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Asus is working on a smartphone equipped with cameras and sensors for Google’s Tango technology for advanced augmented reality. According to the company’s CEO, ZenFone AR will be announced at CES in January 2017.

Details about the device are not yet known, but Asus CEO Jerry Shen says according to Digitimes that the ZenFone AR will get “advanced functionality and performance” at a competitive price. The smartphone for agumented reality will receive support for the Google Tango technology.

Lenovo announced the first Google Tango smartphone in June: the Phab2 Pro. That 6.4″ device costs 499 euros and should have appeared on the market in September. However, the release was postponed to December.

Tango must make smartphones ‘aware’ of their environment. It works with cameras and sensors capable of tracking movement and measuring distances. This allows the environment and objects to be mapped. With the depth camera it is also possible to make a 3D model of objects or entire environments. The Tango technique is especially useful in augmented reality, but also in virtual reality and enables precise navigation within buildings.

Google Tango module in the Lenovo Phab2 Pro smartphone

Following the ZenFone AR, the ZenFone 4 models from Asus will arrive in the second quarter of next year. These devices should get better cameras, which should help sell more smartphones and make more profit, Shen said.

The CEO also discusses the arrival of ‘all-in-one’ VR devices in the third quarter of 2017. This would involve one or more VR glasses with built-in cameras, sensors and controllers. Perhaps Shen is referring to the upcoming Windows 10 VR headsets. At the end of October, Microsoft announced that various manufacturers, including Asus, will come on the market with such VR glasses for a starting price of 299 dollars.

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